IOC meets to decide on Russia’s Olympic participation

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2014, file photo, a Russian skating fan holds the country's national flag over the Olympic rings before the start of the men's 10,000-meter speedskating race at Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Russia could be banned from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The decision will come on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 when the International Olympic Committee executive board meets in Lausanne, less than nine weeks before the games open on Feb. 9 in South Korea. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach from Germany speaks prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The IOC executive board is meeting to decide if Russian athletes can compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics despite evidence that the country ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games. (Laurent Gillieron/pool photo via AP)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Denis Oswald, center right, of Switzerland, speaks with Angela Ruggiero, center left, from the United States, next to Gian-Franco Kasper, left, from Switzerland and Sergey Bubka, right, from the Ukraine, prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The IOC executive board is meeting to decide if Russian athletes can compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics despite evidence that the country ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games. (Laurent Gillieron/pool photo via AP)

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2014 file photo Veleriya Obarevich, right, and Yan Shamilov carry a Russian flag with the message "Thank you, Putin!" written across it in Russian through Olympic Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Sochi, Russia. Russia could be banned from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The decision will come on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 when the International Olympic Committee executive board meets in Lausanne, less than nine weeks before the games open on Feb. 9 in South Korea. (AP Photo/David Goldman, file)

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2014 file photo a man carries the Russian national flag past the burning Olympic cauldron at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Russia could be banned from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The decision will come on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 when the International Olympic Committee executive board meets in Lausanne, less than nine weeks before the games open on Feb. 9 in South Korea. (AP Photo/Peter Delong, file)

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The IOC executive board is meeting to decide if Russian athletes can compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics despite evidence that the country ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The International Olympic Committee did not bar Russia from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The IOC instead asked sports governing bodies to decide which athletes could compete.

The IOC could now impose a stricter sanction by allowing Russians to compete only as neutral athletes without their national team name, flag or anthem.

IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to announce the 14-member board’s decision at 7:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) Tuesday.

The board’s debate on Russia has been given 4½-hour slot in the afternoon. Board member Denis Oswald will sum up the work of a disciplinary commission he has chaired to prosecute Russian athletes implicated in cheating in Sochi.

By Monday, 25 Russians had been disqualified from the Sochi Games and banned from the Olympics for life, and 11 medals were stripped. One Russian was cleared.

Russia no longer is at the top of the Sochi medals table. The banned athletes have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

A second IOC commission chairman, Samuel Schmid, will also report to the board on his work on if Russian state agencies organized an “institutional conspiracy.”

Schmid, a former president of Switzerland, received a 50-page sworn affidavit from Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow and Sochi laboratory director who is a key witness for World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren and Oswald.

Russia has repeatedly denied that a state-sponsored doping program existed. It blames Rodchenkov as a rogue employee, and wants the scientist extradited from the United States, where he is a protected witness.

The Russian delegation to the meeting includes IOC member Alexander Zhukov, president of its national Olympic committee, and world figure skating champion Evgenia Medvedeva.

Any sanctions imposed by the IOC can also be challenged at CAS, and later at Switzerland’s supreme court, which can intervene if legal process has been abused.

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