LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The International Olympic Committee says Russian athletes will be able to compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics as neutrals after the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended over evidence that the country ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

gettyimages 474420451 IOC Bans Russia From 2018 Winter Olympics

SOCHI, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 23: The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The IOC, which also suspended IOC member Alexander Zhukov, says some competitors will be invited to participate as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)” without their national flag or anthem.

Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said it would be humiliating for Russia to compete without national symbols.

The IOC also imposed a fine of $15 million on the Russian Olympic committee.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was also banned for life from the Olympics for his role in the country’s doping program.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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