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IOC Clears A Total Of 271 Russian Athletes For 2016 Olympics

  • RFE/RL

The Russian Olympic team was in a festive mood amid signs of a softening in the doping bans on some athletes ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The Russian Olympic team was in a festive mood amid signs of a softening in the doping bans on some athletes ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Russians have defiantly hoisted their flag at the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro as the head of Russia's Olympic Committee, Aleksandr Zhukov, says the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that 271 Russian athletes have been cleared to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

Zhukov said he received the news after an IOC panel on August 4 issued final rulings about which Russian athletes are banned from the 2016 Olympics in response to Russia's state-sponsored program for performance-enhancing drugs.

Some decisions by the three-member IOC panel overturned earlier bans against Russian athletes imposed by international sports federations -- including Olympic-medal winning swimmers Vladimir Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev -- after the IOC sent out "new guidance" on implementing sanctions.

Russia named 389 athletes to its team, meaning a final total of 118 Russian athletes have been banned from competing in the 2016 Olympics. That includes nearly all of Russia's track-and-field team.

The World Sailing Federation, sailing's world governing body, said it had canceled a ban against Russian 470-class contender Pavel Sozykin because of the new instructions.

The news about Sozykin was followed by an announcement from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) that all 11 Russian boxers who qualified for the Rio Olympics have been given the all clear to compete at the Games.

The AIBA said it had carried out "an individual analysis" of the anti-doping record of each boxer before making its decision.

Also cleared for Rio on August 4 were 29 other swimmers, Russia’s entire synchronized swimming and polo teams, the men’s and women’s volleyball teams, all eight Russian tennis players, the 11-member judo team, 18 Russian shooters, golfer Maria Verchenova, and canoeist Andrey Kraitor.

The news that some athletes were able to dodge bans appeared to egg on the Russian contingent in Rio, with nearly the entire Russian Olympic team of over 200 showing up for a welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village where they raised their flag on August 4, ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on August 5.

"We are in great mood. We hope it is not the last time when the Russian flag is hoisted at the Rio Olympics," Zhukov said.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and TASS
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