Putin says Russian Federation won't prevent athletes from competing in Pyeongchang - agencies

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams attends a press conference during an IOC executive meeting

Capitals superstar Ovechkin believes Russians should still participate in the Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the downhill ski competition at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi.

Russia's Tass news agency said that Putin made the remarks on Wednesday during his visit to an automobile factory in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, some 400 kilometers east from Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will not prevent its athletes from competing in the 2018 Olympics, after the International Olympic Committee banned the Russian team from the games over doping allegations.

The International Olympic Committee made a decision to ban the Russian federation as punishment for widespread doping Olympic officials believe was supported by the government.

In the weeks before the IOC decision, more than 20 Russian athletes who competed at the Sochi Games were handed Olympic life bans for alleged doping offences. The IOC, however, plans to invite individual Russians to compete under the Olympic flag.

The country's athletics federation and anti-doping agency were suspended over a separate WADA report in 2015 containing evidence of state-backed doping in track and field.

It said the IOC's actions proved that "you can destroy a whole Olympic country on the basis of indirect evidence and a single witness who was under a criminal investigation and has been treated in a psychiatric hospital".

The IOC "has issued proportional sanctions for this systemic manipulation while protecting the clean athletes".

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A national ban is unprecedented in the history of the Olympics - countries have been banned for political reasons and never because of cheating - but IOC President Thomas Bach called Russian behavior "an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".

Russian Federation will not prevent any of its athletes from competing independently in the Winter Olympics in February, President Vladimir Putin says.

But a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last year found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in over 30 sports were involved in a conspiracy to hide positive drug tests over a period of five years.

Well on her way to beating Ingemar Stenmark's World Cup record of 86 victories, she'll now aim to add to the downhill Olympic title she claimed in Vancouver back in 2010.

Rodchenkov has been living in hiding in the United States since lifting the lid on the intricate workings of a state-supported doping scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

He added that it would not be a priority to hold Russian officials responsible. Those allegations prompted WADA and the International Olympic Committee to launch two more investigations, both of which confirmed Rodchenkov's charges. Even before the International Olympic Committee reallocates the stripped medals, the United States has the most total medals and Norway has the most golds.

Zubkov, who carried Russia's flag at the Sochi opening ceremony, has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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