A woman waves a Russian flag outside of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in front of the Olympic Rings prior to the opening of the first day of the executive board meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the IOC headquarters, in Pully near Lausanne, on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Photo: Jean-Christophe Bott, Keystone via AP

MOSCOW: The Russian Olympic Committee has formally given its blessing for the country’s athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games.

Under International Olympic Committee sanctions announced last week in response to Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Games, Russians will compete under the Olympic flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

ROC president Alexander Zhukov says “the opinion of all taking part was united, and that was that our athletes need to go to South Korea, compete and win.”

Some Russians will formally be invited by the IOC as individual athletes, though the ROC will submit rosters of its preferred teams.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his backing last week.

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