Russia might be allowed to fly their flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, an IOC spokesman said today, provided they play ball during the Games. The sporting superpower was banned from the Pyeongchang Games by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday over state-sponsored doping, although individual athletes will be allowed to compete under the Olympic flag subject to strict conditions. But if all conditions are met by those athletes, the IOC might soften its stance at the closing ceremony in South Korea. "Should the Russians comply with all of the decisions from yesterday -- that includes no flag, no uniform -- then it is possible they (the flag and uniforms) could come back at the beginning of the closing ceremony," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as long as they have never committed an "anti-doping rule violation" and undergo "pre-Games targeted tests" among other conditions, the IOC said on Tuesday. However, they will be allowed to compete only under the Olympic flag and the name 'Olympic Athlete from Russia', while the Olympic rather than Russian anthem will be played should they win gold. Four years ago in Sochi, Russia, India's Olympic committee had been banned and its athletes -- of which there were only three -- competed under the Olympic flag. However, that ban was lifted two days after the start of the 2014 Games and the athletes paraded behind their own 'Tiranga' flag at the closing ceremony.
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