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Olympic Chief Visits Russian Athletes Amid Talk Of Lifting Doping Ban

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has met with Russian athletes for a second time at the Olympic village in Pyeongchang, South Korea, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

Adams said Bach held the meeting on February 15 because he thought it was important to stay in contact with all athletes at the games to see whether there are any problems. He said a possible lifting of the IOC's ban on the Russian Olympic Committee was discussed.

Citing a system of Russian doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the IOC in December barred Russia's Olympic Committee from this year's games in Pyeongchang and forced "clean" Russian athletes to compete as neutral "Olympic Athletes from Russia."

Russian bobsledder Maksim Andriyanov told the Russian news agency TASS that Bach expressed satisfaction at the meeting with the way Russian athletes have conducted themselves at the games thus far and said he has received no complaints about them.

Andriyanov said Bach explained the IOC's reasoning and process behind doping bans that were imposed on certain athletes and then took questions from athletes on the doping matter.

Adams said Bach told the Russians it was not for him to decide whether the IOC's suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee would be lifted in time for it to participate in the closing ceremony on February 25.

Adams said a special commission set up by the IOC is charged with deciding whether to lift the suspension.

"I think the president stressed that it is not up to him and that [the commission] will take all factors into account," Adams said.

Athletes from Russia have so far won five medals in Pyeongchang, including one silver and four bronze.

Based on reporting by dpa and TASS

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