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Russian Says 169 Athletes Cleared For Olympics; Notable Names Excluded

Six-time gold medalist Viktor Ahn will not be able to compete in Pyeongchang.
Six-time gold medalist Viktor Ahn will not be able to compete in Pyeongchang.

A Russian Olympic Committee official says 169 athletes have been cleared to compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.

"As of today, we have approved jointly with the national and international sports federations the final application of the Russian Olympic athletes at the number of 169," Russian Olympic Committee Vice President Stanislav Pozdnyakov told reporters on January 25.

“Unfortunately, leading athletes were not included," he added.

In December, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from the February 9-25 Olympics in Pyeongchang citing its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system.

However, it said that some Russians would be allowed to compete in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag and with the designation of Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) provided they met certain guidelines on doping.

Last week, the IOC said that it had reduced the pool of Russian athletes eligible to potentially compete to 389 from 500 and indicated that a final decision on which Russians may compete could come on January 27.

The Kremlin on January 23 described as "deplorable" that six-time Olympic gold medalist speed skater Viktor Ahn, as well as cross-country skier Sergei Ustyugov and biathlete Anton Shipulin, both reigning world champions, were not in the IOC pool.

Earlier on January 25, Russia’s hockey federation unveiled the roster of players who will compete under the OAR designation.

The list includes several former U.S. National Hockey League players, including Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk. Both will be competing in their fifth Olympics.

Russian officials deny state-sponsored doping, despite voluminous evidence.

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