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International Olympic Committee Nyet!! Russia Banned From '18 Winter Olympics

12/5/2017 11:08 AM PST

Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Russia is BANNED from the '18 Winter Olympics after the country was caught running a MASSIVE doping scheme ... the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday.

Athletes from Russia -- across every sport -- won't be allowed to compete representing the nation, the Russian flag won't be flown, and officials from the country aren't welcome in PyeongChang, South Korea.

FYI -- Russian athletes -- who can prove they aren't doping -- can compete under a neutral flag ... meaning they aren't reppin' a country.

The IOC hit Russia with the unprecedented penalty after completing an independent investigation into the country for operating an expansive state-sponsored doping program ... that included widespread cheating in the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

The United States Olympic Committee addressed the punishment, saying ... "The IOC took a strong and principled decision. There were no perfect options, but this decision will clearly make it less likely that this ever happens again. Now it is time to look ahead to PyeongChang."

It's unclear if, and how, Russia will attempt to counter the IOC's decision.

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