Russians to compete as neutrals at Olympics

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 International Olympic Committee says Russian athletes will be able to compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics as neutrals.

The IOC, which also suspended the Russian Olympic committee and IOC member Alexander Zhukov, says some competitors will be invited to participate as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)” without their national flag or anthem.

Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

The IOC also imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee.

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