Russians to Get 'Neutral' Gray, Red Uniforms for Olympics

Chris Stokes Dudley Stokes Devon Harris Michael White became the first Jamaican team to compete in the bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics 30 years ago

"Protecting clean athletes by fighting doping is a top priority for the International Olympic Committee... we are committed to working with our partners to ensure that Pyeongchang 2018 provides a level playing field for all clean athletes", International Olympic Committee medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said.

According to the Russian sports website Championat, as many as 36 athletes cited various illnesses for withdrawing from the competition at the city of Irkutsk.

It's not the first time Russian athletes have been accused of dodging doping tests.

Russian athletics federation Director Andrei Kruporushnikov said he "didn't expect" such mass withdrawals when the federation suggested that RUSADA look into second-tier races.

The group of National Anti-Doping Orgnisations (NADOs) claimed the failure of the Olympics' governing body to do so had cast a cloud over others due to participate in Pyeongchang in a critical joint statement after a meeting in Germany on Wednesday.

It also said that the cases of three biathletes - Olga Zaytseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova - would not be among those heard next week as the relevant procedures have been "suspended".

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The IOC last month banned Russian Federation from the Pyeongchang Games as a result of its "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system, though individual athletes will be able to compete effectively as neutrals if they can prove their anti-doping credentials.

They include athletes who have continued to compete in World Cup races not controlled by the IOC.

The upcoming Games, which begin in South Korea on February 9, are the first Winter Olympics since it was revealed Russian Federation manipulated anti-doping tests at the Sochi Games four years ago.

Sochi 2014 gold medallists Alexander Legkov (cross-country skiing), Aleksei Negodailo (bobsleigh), Aleksandr Tretiakov (skeleton), Dmitry Trunenkov (bobsleigh) and Aleksandr Zubkov (bobsleigh) are among the 42 athletes to have appealed against their bans.

It also fined the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) $15 million (£11.2m), but indicated that acceptance of a series of punishments could lead to the ban being lifted for the closing ceremony at the Games.

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