Russian President Vladimir Putin openly blamed the United States on Wednesday for the International Olympic Committee’s decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, saying it was a “well-orchestrated campaign” by American officials hoping to win more medals.
“All this looks like an absolutely well-orchestrated campaign and a politically motivated decision,” Putin told Russian news on Wednesday. “We see this and I have no doubts about that.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister also trashed the decision this week, blasting Washington’s use of “dirty and political tricks” to boot his country from the international games.
“For a long time we’ve experienced attempts by the United States to put pressure on international sports organizations,” he said. “We are for competition in sports and for ridding this sphere of dirty political tricks. We do hope that this approach will prevail in Washington sooner or later.”
On Tuesday, the IOC officially banned Russian athletes from competing in the upcoming games following years of suspected doping scandals and the use of under-aged women in various competitions.
The IOC has said that specific athletes who comply with rigorous drug testing and screening will be allowed to compete as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)” but will not be permitted to use their national flag or anthem.