Russia have been banned from competing as a team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.

IOC president Thomas Bach confirmed the ban on Tuesday evening in Lausanne and said Russian athletes will only be eligible to compete under a neutral flag in South Korea, much like in athletics at the last summer games in Rio in 2016.

The ban stems from a 17-month investigation, headed by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid, into widespread doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, which has seen numerous medallists banned.

As a result of the investigation, former Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko – now Vladimir Putin’s Deputy Prime Minister – has been banned from any participation in all future Olympic Games along with his former deputy Yuri Nagornykh.

Any Russian athletes ruled eligible after going through a thorough clearing process will only be allowed to compete as an ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ in a uniform bearing that name.

Should any of them claim a gold medal, they will stand on top of the podium and hear the Olympic Games anthem.

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