Febrero 24, 2018

Why are Russian athletes wearing grey during the opening ceremony?

10 Febrero 2018, 09:57 | Gerardo Tarin

IOC honorary member Vitaly Smirnov

IOC honorary member Vitaly Smirnov

The governing body said many factors had been taken into consideration in setting the times, with the final decision made by the IOC Executive Board based on proposals from the local organising committee and consultations with the global sport federations.

They can't wear their country's colors (hence the drab, neutral-colored uniforms), they can't display the Russian flag (why they marched under a neutral flag with just the Olympics logo on it), and any medals they win won't go toward Russia's medal count in the history books.

"Hopefully that would be something that could take us to the future. You're still going to get more, for instance, South Korean medalists probably this time than you would another time for obvious reasons: home eating, home training, familiarity with the venues and so forth", said Cazeneuve.

"If dirty athletes are taken out, then clean athletes will prevail, " Cunningham said.

Essentially, that's what happened here.

There are 169 athletes competing in PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Olympics under the Olympic flag and are identified as the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

To be sure, there is yet more legal reckoning and more political posturing to come with this long-running drama, now into its fourth year and second Olympics - with no end in sight. Drugs or no drugs, but it takes more than a booster cocktail to win a medal - though I'm sure the International Olympic Committee would beg to differ.

"The message that I think we're sending to athletes now [is] the decision has been made, you should be incredibly confident that every athlete, including Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation, have had to jump over an enormously high hurdle to be here", said Ruggiero, who's also a USOC board member.

In early December Russia was banned from competing in the Olympics due to prior performance-enhancing doping controversies involving athletes, coaches, and even Russian testing labs. That means whenever the International Olympic Committee doesn't like an athlete's nationality, the athlete can be excluded.

"Although the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended, the IOC nevertheless chose to offer individual athletes the opportunity to participate in the Winter Games under prescribed conditions-a process that was created to balance the IOC's interest in the global fight against doping and the interests of individual athletes from Russia", CAS said in a statement announcing the decision.

Pozdnyakov, chef de mission of the Russian contingent, declined to say how many medals the team will aim for this year, and said Russian competitors have been told to follow the International Olympic Committee rules as neutrals.

The OAR number stands at 168.

"This Panel is faced with evaluating an unprecedented response to an extraordinary situation, that is, a state-sponsored doping scheme", the CAS panel, consisting of Switzerland's Bernhard Welten, Carol Roberts from Canada and Australia's Zali Steggall, said.

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