December 8, 2017 / 11:40 AM / 7 months ago

Russian speaker says lawmakers should shun Olympics if no national flag: Ifax

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers should not attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics to support athletes unless they are competing under the Russian flag, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin as saying on Friday.

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, Paralympics mascot Bandabi and the Olympic Rings are displayed at the Gyeongpodae beach in Gangneung, South Korea, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

“If we cannot ensure the possibility of our athletes competing under our flag, in the name of our country, we have nothing to do there,” Interfax quoted Volodin as telling lawmakers in parliament.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia on Tuesday from next year’s Winter Games after evidence emerged of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.

The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as neutrals as long as they satisfy conditions that show they have a doping-free background.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

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