IOC upholds doping ban; Russian athletes can't march under flag

The International Olympic Committee has upheld its ban of Russia from the Pyeongchang Olympics, denying the country the chance to march into the closing ceremony under its own flag.

The vote came Sunday just hours before the closing ceremony.

IOC president Thomas Bach said a condition for Russia's reinstatement is no further positive drug tests at these Olympics. Two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were Russian, including a curler who had to return his bronze medal.

"The IOC executive board decided first not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony," Bach said. "Therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in these Olympic Winter Games."

Despite the IOC's vote, the Russian Olympic Committee said it expects to be reinstated "in the next few days."

"In the light of the current situation we believe that the restoration of the rights of the ROC and all Russian athletes will be the most important result of the Olympic Games ending today," the ROC said.

The ruling didn't stop the Russian men's hockey team from celebrating its gold-medal win by belting out the "State Anthem of the Russian Federation" and drowning out the recorded song that was required as part of IOC sanctions.

Russia was banned from the Olympics on Dec. 5 because of a massive doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Games. The IOC had left open the possibility of reinstatement ahead of the closing ceremony if the Russians met a series of criteria, and Russian athletes were allowed to participate under the Olympic flag.

IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba, head of the Russia implementation group, said the Russian delegation met many of the criteria required for reinstatement during the Olympics.

The two failed drug tests, however, were too much.

"Despite a good collaboration from the OAR delegation to respond to these [doping] cases in a prompt and transparent way, the implementation group was convinced that these cases caused significant concern," Hoevertsz said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.