Now leading U.S. skiers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin have joined the chorus of those backing the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to ban the country from next year's Winter Olympics.
"Russia has never encouraged doping", said Mutko, who was sports minister when Russian Federation hosted the last Winter Olympics.
There had been speculation Moscow could boycott the Games entirely after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday barred the country from competition over what its chief Thomas Bach described as Russia's "unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport".
"Obviously, it's hard for athletes", Ovechkin said.
A report made by a WADA investigator and presented previous year before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics included the testimony of the informer Grigori Rodchenkov, who worked with the Moscow branch of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would not prevent its athletes from competing in Pyeongchang as neutrals, damping down calls from some Russians to boycott the Games. Athletes from around the world, including a few from Alaska, made their opinions known following the ban announcement. "Why do you punish the entire country", the MP said.
Addressing the strained relations and their impact on the Olympics, Haley said the Trump administration would try to "find out the best way" to protect USA athletes participating in the games.
"Two-time Olympic skier Holly Brooks told Channel 2 via email that, "(Tuesday's) decision is a win for clean athletes and clean sport.
Russian athletes who can incontrovertibly prove that they are untainted by doping will be "invited" to compete at February's Winter Games but won't be allowed to display any national symbols - something President Vladimir Putin has previously said would be an humiliation.
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"Russia has been punished, including the government in the guise of Mutko, but there exists a way out for those athletes who have nothing to do with this".
"Can't get by without Russia", the pro-Kremlin Izvestia daily headlined its front page, stressing that "Russian Olympic athletes will defend the honour of the Motherland under any banner".
In the meantime, the International Olympic Committee will conduct tens of thousands of pre-Games doping tests ahead of competition in South Korea.
And it is possible the Russian flag could be used in the closing ceremony, Bach said, as a "signal that there Russia has then accepted and respected the sanction and that then a new beginning is possible... this could be then a really strong message for a new beginning".
A South Korean presidential Blue House official who spoke to Yonhap said it would respect the International Olympic Committee decision, but will take all measures necessary to prevent losses in ticket sales. You'll be solidifying the belief that the only risk in running a dirty system is the potential consequences that will fall on individual athletes.
"The whole situation is a little bit hard", Ovechkin said.
Schultz said she was shocked at the news at first, but not totally surprised.
"So there are still more questions than answers and they all need to clarified".
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