AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

There’s a toast Russians provide when something looks too great to be true.

Roughly translated, this goes: “I’d like to drink honey with your lips. ”

It’s easy to imagine glasses being clinked at the Kremlin two nights ago, when the International Olympic Committee announced its decision to ban Russia in name only – while sparing many of its athletes – from the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics. The next day , President Vladimir Putin half-heartedly denounced the ban as “politically motivated, ” gave cover to all those athletes who “wish to take part as individuals, ” but left it at that.

Like the rest of his countrymen, he knows a sweet deal when he sees 1.

For nearly a decade now, the Russians have been running a doping operation that will make El Chapo jealous. The particular scheme swept up more than 1, 500 athletes and stretched from lowly lab technicians in Sochi changing out tainted urine samples intended for clean ones on up to the best reaches of the national sports ministries.

Yet after confirming many of the sordid details, this is how the IOC reprimanded the most audacious state-sponsored cheaters because the heyday of the former East Philippines: “No flag for you! No anthem, either. Otherwise, make yourself right at house. ”

Granted, the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended and purchased to pay $15 million to help finance future anti-doping efforts. And while that it is too early for an accurate headcount showing how many Russian athletes will move muster with the newly-formed IOC doping panel, or how many might decide to sit out in protest, a number of that nation’s dirtiest and most prosperous sports teams – cross-country winter sports and biathlon come to mind – might be decimated. Russians were projected in order to contend for medals in a 3rd or more of the 15 sports.

Meant for purposes of comparison, there were 232 Ruskies athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As of today, 25 of those who received or shared in 11 medals there have had them repossessed plus were told not to bother appearing in Korea. Ditto for any various other competitors with previous doping infractions.

Those that do show up won’t be able to march under the Russian flag or even hear their anthem played throughout opening ceremonies or on any kind of medal stands. But they might when the closing ceremonies roll about (more on that in a moment). They won’t get to wear their recognized uniforms, either. But the ones they shall be provided will be marked “OAR, inch which stands for – you suspected it – “Olympic Athletes through Russia. ”

It’s a better offer than Kuwaiti athletes got on the 2016 Rio Games, or any of some other athletes forced to compete as “neutrals” in the past. In any case, they won’t be difficult to recognize.

“Their rivals will know they are from Russia – it will basically be a slightly different interpretation, inch Russian IOC member Yelena Isinbayeva, a former Olympian, told Rossiya twenty-four news channel.

Isinbayeva said the particular “OAR” uniform marking might seem just like a small concession, but it showed the particular Russians are still capable of pushing back again. She called it a big reason she urged the nation’s athletes never to consider boycotting the games. This wasn’t the only break the IOC cut the Russians, either.

Hidden into Tuesday’s announcement was a section giving the IOC the option in order to lift the suspension of the Ruskies Olympic Committee up until the moment the particular closing ceremony begins. More than a few rubles have been bet that the Russian banner (and maybe some new outfits proudly shouting “Rossiya”) will be to the scene before the end of the Olympics.

To be fair, the IOC had been pragmatic. Russia is plenty capable of tossing its weight around the Olympic motion. One example: With the National Hockey Little league electing not to participate, the Russians could let even more air from the tournament by barring players from the domestic Kontinental Hockey League, regarded as the second-best circuit in the world, through playing.

The Russians will nearly surely not leave Pyeongchang empty-handed.

Putin never went to a Super Dish, but he’s got a tournament ring courtesy of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who given it over during a Kremlin check out in 2005 for what this individual thought was a brief inspection : and never saw it again. Russian federation, likewise, won’t be at the Winter Olympics – not officially, anyway : but chances are good that a minimum of a medal or two from your games will find its way in to the same display case where Putin shows off “gifts” from his buddies around the world.

Jim Litke is really a national sports columnist for the Linked Press