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IOC clears 169 Russian athletes to compete at 2018 Winter Olympics

IOC clears 169 Russian athletes to compete at 2018 Winter Olympics
Russia as a nation was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in response to a widespread doping scandal that involved athletes, coaches and officials. (Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

The International Olympic Committee on Saturday confirmed that 169 Russian athletes have been invited to compete as "neutrals" at the upcoming 2018 Winter Games.

The "Olympic Athletes from Russia" will wear neutral uniforms and participate under the Olympic flag.

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They were chosen from a pool of 389 candidates by an IOC review panel that spent weeks considering whether the athletes could prove they had competed cleanly in the past.

Russia has been banned from the Games as a nation in response to a widespread doping scandal that has involved athletes, coaches and officials. Investigations also found evidence that workers in Russian labs tampered with samples to keep the country's athletes from failing drug tests.

Earlier this week, a Russian sports official raised the possibility that some athletes might refuse the IOC invitation in a show of solidarity with their teammates.

Several top athletes, including short track speedskater Viktor Ahn, were not on the list.

The 169-person roster represents the smallest team of Russians at the Winter Olympics in more than a decade.

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