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Eve Muirhead: IOC have made the right decision

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The International Olympic Committee has taken a strong stand, and the right stand, this week.

There is a lot of detail still to emerge but, as a matter of principle, banning the official Russian team from the Winter Olympics is the correct thing to do.

The investigation into what has gone on in the past revealed so much that a hard line had to be taken for the credibility of the Games in February.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of the story, though.

There has been talk of a Russian boycott, so we’ll have to see if that happens.

If there isn’t a boycott, there’s an argument that the fact that clean Russian athletes will be able to compete lessens the impact of the IOC ban.

But I don’t see it that way.

The sanctions against Russia are symbolic and for a country that puts such importance on succeeding on the international stage, to not see their colours and hear their anthem is a pretty powerful message.

It will be interesting to find out if Russian athletes who are allowed to compete will be able to have their full support teams with them. It’s a big deal if they’re not.

And you also have to wonder how they will be affected psychologically. Will it spur them on to fight even harder or will they be deflated by not having their country’s colours on their backs?

The Russian curlers will certainly have plenty on their minds.

Team Sidorova were selected for PyeongChang but, after they had a poor European Championships the other week, their curling federation have changed their minds and are now holding a play-off.

Talk about moving the goalposts! It’s unbelievable.

So, even without the talk of bans and boycotts, they have to get their head round the fact that the Olympic place they thought they’d been given could be handed to another team.

I’ve been trying to imagine how that would feel. Not very good is the answer!

The Russians have always tended to be less sociable than most of the teams we play against over the course of the season but they have probably become a bit more withdrawn since the doping scandal touched curling.

They wouldn’t be human if they didn’t think people were talking about them.

Whatever happens in the next couple of months, it’s a story that isn’t going to go away.

 

* The Russian participation or non-participation in the Olympics will have an impact on team GB.

We missed out on qualifying for the mixed doubles but if there is no Russian representative then we’re next in line.

 

* My gold medal from the Europeans has been on tour over the last couple of weeks.

I was back in Perthshire at Stanley Primary School this week to give a talk. It was part of an EDF Energy workshop about the science behind curling.

They were a great bunch of kids and you never get tired of seeing the thrill they get when they get to wear a medal!

We’ve got a media day in London on Saturday at the Natural History Museum and then it’s off to Japan for the Karuizawa International.

It’s been great to recharge the batteries and have some down-time but we’re all ready to get back to business.

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