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Russia may organise an alternative tournament to the 2018 Winter Olympics for athletes who decide against participating in South Koreas Games under the neutral-flag status, Alexander Zhukov, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president has said.

The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC and Russian athletes going to PyeongChang must be cleared by a panel and can compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" under the Olympic flag.

"For us the athletes' interests have always been the priority", TASS news agency quoted Mutko as saying late on Wednesday.

The head of the Pyeongchang Winter Games Friday shot down an "irresponsible" report that Olympics chief Thomas Bach is hoping to visit North Korea to discuss its participation in the competition.

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Russian Federation suspended from Winter Olympics, clean athletes can compete as neutrals
According to Rodchenkov, he replaced tainted urine samples with clean ones for Russian athletes during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Meanwhile, Russian coaches and athletes were vehemently condemning the decision and discussing how it could be appealed.

"Having gone through the purgatory of the Olympic qualifications, clean Russian athletes will (a) have to wait for months for the final decisions by the special commission of the IOC, (b) be deprived of the customary support of the NOC of Russia, and (c) most importantly, be denied the right to see their national flag and hear their national anthem", Usmanov wrote. "It would be absolutely wrong if we failed to provide support for them", Zhukov stated.

Russian Federation is expected to make a final decision on its stance regarding the IOC ban at a meeting of the country's Olympic authorities next week. "It's not the time to think of myself".

Lawmakers from the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, are now hashing over a response to this week's IOC Executive Board's ruling to bar the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics as well as to suspend a number of Russian sports officials, reports Tass news agency.

VOA noted the North Korean delegation's visit to Lausanne comes amid reports that the International Olympic Committee chief was seeking to visit North Korea to discuss the country's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.


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