Winter Olympics 2018: 169 Russians invited to compete as neutrals

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XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has issued invitations to 169 Russian athletes who can compete as neutrals at February's Winter Olympics.

Last month, Russia was banned from the event following state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

However, the International Olympic Committee said athletes who prove they are clean could compete in South Korea as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

The athletes were invited on Saturday, 13 days before the Games starts.

The IOC estimates that between 70% and 80% of the 169 athletes have not previously competed at a Winter Olympics. Russia took 232 athletes to the 2014 Sochi Games.

However two big figure skating names - two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva and defending European champion Alina Zagitova - have been included.

The invitations were issued following an OAR delegation registration meeting in Pyeongchang.

An initial list of 389 athletes was narrowed down from a "pre-registration pool" of 500 and more than 80% of these did not compete at the Sochi Games, an event found to have been corrupted by state-sponsored doping.

Russian Olympic Committee vice-president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Thursday: "At the moment, together with the national and international federations, an application of OAR athletes was approved for 169 athletes.

"Unfortunately, leading athletes were not included."

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