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IOC releases logo Russian athletes will wear at Winter Olympics 

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- The International Olympic Committee has released the badge under which Russian athletes will compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics following their country’s ban over systematic doping.

The IOC earlier this month barred Russia from the Games that will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February, but said it would allow individual Russian athletes to take part under a neutral flag, provided they pass an anti-doping panel.

That means Russia’s national colors are forbidden from being worn by Russian athletes. On Wednesday, the IOC published guidelines stipulating what those uniforms must look like, as well as a logo to replace the country’s flag on them.

The badge shows the name that Russian athletes will be competing under: “Olympic Athlete From Russia.” The words are arranged in a circle on a white background.

Hundreds of Russian athletes may compete in Pyeongchang under that badge. Russian state news agencies on Wednesday reported that the country's Olympic Committee is reportedly preparing to submit a team list of 350 athletes to compete. Those athletes must now pass a special IOC panel, made up of representatives from international anti-doping organizations. Russian athletes who have been disqualified over previous doping violations will not be allowed.

The IOC banned Russia from Pyeongchang after investigations it had commissioned confirmed evidence of an elaborate system to conceal doping by hundreds of Russian athletes across multiple Olympics. Russian officials have called the punishment too harsh, but after initial rumblings about a boycott, they have swiftly embraced the IOC proposal, particularly once President Vladimir Putin said authorities would not stop any athletes who wished to take part. The Russian Olympic Committee last week voted unanimously to support those athletes wishing to compete.

The Russian ban for doping is an unprecedented punishment in Olympic history. Since its announcement many observers have noted that Russia will still have a presence at the Games in Pyeongchang.

The word "Russia" will appear on Russian athletes uniforms and the logo’s red and white coloring also matches that of strips previously worn by Russian national squads.

The list of 13 guidelines set out by the IOC in its statement though seem designed to head off attempts at making the uniforms too obviously Russian.

“Print size for words 'Olympic Athlete from' should be equivalent to the word 'Russia' and above the word Russia. The size of these words should be proportional to the area in which they are placed and will require individual approvals from the IOC," according to one guideline.

The uniform's colors must also not be “exactly the same in pantone" as the Russian red, white and blue tricolor flag. The uniform is only permitted two consist of two colors.

Another guideline targets a more creative way of smuggling the flag in: “Separate items of clothing cannot create a tricolor."

The IOC said the guidelines were agreed to after a meeting with representatives from Russia's Olympic Committee. Some Russian sports figures though have suggested that the change in uniforms makes little difference.

"The athletes will take part as Olympic athletes from Russia," Elena Isinbayeva, the two-time Olympic champion high-jumper, told the state channel Russia 24. "That is they will be presented to fans as such. Their competitors will know exactly that they are from Russia. Just a slightly different interpretation."

Russian officials and athletes have denounced the IOC’s decision as unfair, but some have pointed out that the IOC decision contains a clause that holds out the possibility Russian athletes will still be permitted to appear in their national colors in the Games’ closing ceremony. The decision says its ban could be lifted for the close, provided that Russia abides by the conditions laid out in it.

The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Aleksander Zhukov, who was suspended from the IOC, has previously said he believes Russians will likely be able to appear under their own flag.

Any medals won by the Russian athletes will still not go to the country's medal tally though, which will stand at 0 for the 2018 games. The Olympic anthem will also be played at medal ceremonies instead of Russia's.

Russia had already produced a uniform for its Olympic team, a chic, vintage-themed collection, based on the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Those games were boycotted by the U.S. and dozens of other nations to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Athletes from a number of European nations, including Britain and France, competed then in Moscow as neutrals after their governments joined the boycott but said athletes could chose to take part if they wished.

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