Olympics-Russian decision had been ?a balance? Bach says

(Reuters) A decision to ban the Russian team from next month?s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but invite a number of Russian athletes, had been ?a balance? the Olympic president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.

Bach said the International Olympic Committee, which in December banned the nation?s deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life, had wanted a sanction ?apparent to the world?, but had not wanted to humiliate Russia.

The IOC wanted to ?give clean Russian athletes the opportunity to participate, and give a young and new generation of clean Russian athletes the opportunity to be at the Olympic Games and be ambassadors for a new clean Russian sport,? Bach said.

The IOC on Dec. 5 banned Russia over ?systematic manipulation? of the anti-doping system at the 2014 Sochi Games, but left the door open to athletes with no history of doping to compete as ?Olympic Athletes from Russia?.

An independent review panel drew a list of Russian athletes, invited to compete as independents, marching and competing under the Olympic flag.