Sports Russian athletes confront their country’s Olympic ban: ‘I want to compete.’

05:21  06 december  2017
05:21  06 december  2017 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Kremlin to analyze IOC ban before taking any steps

  Kremlin to analyze IOC ban before taking any steps The Kremlin needs to analyze the International Olympic Committee’s ruling to bar Russia and its sports officials from the upcoming Pyeongchang Games before making any decisions regarding the country’s participation, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. Dmitry Peskov said “we need to put emotions aside” and “make a serious analysis” of the ruling before taking any steps. Peskov also said Russia “still needs to answer some questions” from the IOC.

" I want to compete ," said Avtaneev, who' s trying for his second Olympics in the men' s halfpipe. " I will stick the sticker on my helmet that I 'm Russian ." As the Winter Olympics host nation four years ago, Russia was able to compete in all 15 sports, sending more than 230 athletes to Sochi.

¶ Any of its athletes competing under a neutral flag will be referred to as Olympic Athletes from Russia . Athletes Who Were Denied Their Olympic Medal Moments Because Others Were Doping. The Marriage That Led to the Russian Track Team’ s Olympic Ban .

a man flying through the air while riding skis: Snowboarder Nikita Avtaneev of Russia competing in the qualification heats at the Sochi Olympics.© Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Snowboarder Nikita Avtaneev of Russia competing in the qualification heats at the Sochi Olympics.

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — Nikita Avtaneev was strapped into his snowboard, twirling through the thin, crisp air on Tuesday, while his Olympic fate was being announced halfway around the world. It wasn't until the end of the snowboarder's training run that he received the news issued by the International Olympic Committee: Russia, Avtaneev's home country, will not be able to compete in the Winter Games in South Korea in February due to widespread doping violations.

The Olympic world immediately began processing the ramifications of the IOC's unprecedented decision, calculating what the news means to the competition in PyeongChang this winter and to the dreams of athletes who have spent years in training.

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  How IOC’s decision could impact Team Canada and Olympic hockey What the IOC’s decision to ban the Russian Olympic Committee from the 2018 Winter Games will to do the hockey tournaments remains to be seen, but the ramifications could stretch well beyond Russia’s borders.Will Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and the rest of the Russian hockey team consent to pulling on a sweater featuring the Olympic rings rather than one of their own? Will they even be allowed to?

[ Russian athletes confront their country ’ s Olympic ban : ‘ I want to compete .’] Russian sports ministry officials have apologized for widespread doping among their athletes , but forcefully have denied allegations of government involvement and painted Rodchenkov as a rogue actor.

Image. Russian athletes cleared to compete in the Winter Olympics will do so not under their nation’ s flag, but under the designation Olympic Athlete from Russia .CreditCreditJavier Etxezarreta/European Pressphoto Agency.

Avtaneev, 22, is one of dozens of Russian athletes who hopes he can take advantage of an exemption allowed by the IOC that permits Olympic hopefuls to compete if they can prove they're clear. They'd be designated by the IOC as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and would participate in the Olympics with no national anthem, flag or team uniform.

"I want to compete," said Avtaneev, who's trying for his second Olympics in the men's halfpipe. "I will stick the sticker on my helmet that I'm Russian."

Avtaneev is in Copper Mountain this week, competing in a Grand Prix event that serves as a qualifier for the Olympics. Regardless of how he does here, he'll still need to navigate a separate qualification process to get to PyeongChang — an IOC panel that will review all Russian competitors to determine whether they have been disqualified for past doping violations and whether they have completed all pre-Olympics drug testing.

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  Team Canada GM: Many nations have chance for Olympic hockey success The playing field has been somewhat levelled with no NHL participation in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament, says Team Canada general manager Sean Burke. “What really makes this Olympics interesting is that a lot of countries who didn’t consider themselves medal contenders or gold-medal contenders, especially if the NHL was to go, are now looking at this as an opportunity,” Burke said Tuesday on Sportsnet 650’s On Point. The NHL announced earlier this year that its players would not participate in the 2018 Games, ending a run of five consecutive Winter Olympics featuring the league’s players.

The IOC has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee from 2018 Olympics , ruling that Russian athletes can only compete under a neutral flag. Competing as neutrals without a national team means that athletes will not take part in the opening ceremony, and their country ’ s anthem will not

Russian Olympic Committee banned from 2018 Winter Games, athletes allowed to compete as neutrals. The management of the Bobsleigh Federation will help those athletes who want to perform in PyeongChang.” But not all share the same kind of patriotic sentiment.

The IOC's decision has implications for virtually every sport, barring some formidable medal contenders from competing and insuring that some who do reach the podium might have to contend with an asterisk next to their name because of a diminished field. As the Winter Olympics host nation four years ago, Russia was able to compete in all 15 sports, sending more than 230 athletes to Sochi.

While Russia was initially credited with 33 medals in Sochi, the country's medal count has been reduced to 22 due to disqualifications related to doping. That number could drop further. Nearly half the Sochi medalists from Russia have been implicated in the doping scheme, and two dozen athletes are currently in the midst of disciplinary proceedings.

Even before Tuesday's IOC announcement, some of Russia's top competitors had already been barred from competing in PyeongChang, including cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, who was stripped of two Sochi medals, skeleton slider Aleksandr Tretyakov, who lost his gold medal from Sochi, and speed skater Olga Fatkulina, who had her silver medal from Sochi stripped.

Skeleton gold medallist among 4 more Russians banned for doping

  Skeleton gold medallist among 4 more Russians banned for doping The International Olympic Committee has banned four more Russians for doping at the 2014 Sochi Games, including a gold medallist in skeleton. Four Russians, all skeleton racers, were banned by the International Olympic Committee for doping, including men's gold medallist Alexander Tretyakov and women's bronze medallist Elena Nikitina.

(CNN) Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea over the country ' s "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping rules. However, Russian athletes who can prove that they are clean will be "invited" to compete in Pyeongchang

Russian athletes are overwhelmingly in favor of competing at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games despite a ban on the national team, the country ' s Olympic committee said Monday.

Some sports will surely notice the absence of a Russian team than others. Tuesday's decision had a big impact on sliding sports, such as bobsled, skeleton and luge; Nordic sports, including cross-country skiing and biathlon; and potentially figure skating, where Russia is a traditional podium threat.

In skeleton for instance, Russian sent six athletes to Sochi. Five have since been disqualified and two Russian medals were vacated.

"I'd be lying if I said I had a lot of optimism that they were going to come down with a harsh penalty," said American slider Matt Antoine, who won a bronze medal in 2014. "I'm extremely pleased to see them make the hard decision — and the right decision — to protect the integrity of the Games. Their entire reputation was really on the line. In the end, they did the right thing."

At the Sochi Games, Russia won five figure skating medals, including three golds, and at this year's world championships, Evgenia Medvedeva won the women's championship, while Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took bronze in pairs. Medvedeva was only 14 years old during the Sochi Games and has faced no accusations of wrongdoing, which could make her a likely candidate for an IOC exemption. But Medvedeva told the IOC executive committee Tuesday that she could not yet commit to participating as a neutral athlete.

Why Russia should be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics

  Why Russia should be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics In an open letter to IOC president Thomas Bach, Winter Olympic medallist Deidra Dionne argues that Russia must receive the strongest possible punishment for its doping violations. Dear Mr. Bach, You probably don't remember, but I wrote an open letter to you a few years back, voicing my concern about the Olympic movement. Here I am again, trying to persuade you to listen.

Russian athletes confront their country ' s Olympic ban : ' I want to compete .' Svrluga: Russian cheating may have cost this American an Olympic medal. The ban gives her hope it won't happen again.

The Olympic governing body ruled that “clean” Russian athletes will be able to compete in PyeongChang under a neutral flag as ‘ Olympic Athletes from Russia ’ if their status is confirmed by the IOC-appointed panel.

"I always believed that the opportunity to participate in the Olympics should be fought on the ice," she said. "Unfortunately, now I understand that I may lose that chance because of a situation that doesn't depend on me . . . . I'm proud of my country. I have tremendous pride to represent it at the Games."

Avtaneev felt similarly, that Tuesday's decision effectively punishes many Russian athletes who've done nothing wrong. "No, it's not right," he said. "Those who are not clear with the doping, it's their problem, so they should answer for themselves."

Russia also won five Sochi medals in short-track speedskating, four of which came from Viktor Ahn, one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair skates. Ahn was born in Seoul and competed for South Korea in the 2006 Olympics before obtaining Russian citizenship and skating for his adopted homeland in Sochi, where he won three gold medals and one bronze.

Ahn's return to Korean soil and a chance to cap his career in his native country promises to be one of these Olympics' biggest story lines if he is granted neutral competitor status, which seems likely. He'd previously said he intended to retire following the PyeongChang Games.

The decision casts an even darker cloud over the men's hockey tournament. Already NHL players are barred from competing and without Russia in the mix, it's likely that players from the Moscow-based Kontinental Hockey League — widely considered the world's second-best — won't be allowed to compete, furthering watering down the competitive pool.

Sochi investigator says Russian denials risk tougher penalty

  Sochi investigator says Russian denials risk tougher penalty Russian sports officials risk talking themselves into a tougher punishment for the country’s Olympic team, according to the investigator who detailed an orchestrated doping program. Richard McLaren’s work verifying allegations of systematic cheating by Russia at the 2014 Sochi Games has been vindicated this month by an International Olympic Committee panel that so far has found 22 winter sports athletes guilty. However, Russian officials continue to deny that state agencies organized the doping. They have tried to shift blame onto other international sports bodies, including the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Russian athletes confront their country ' s Olympic ban : ' I want to compete '. Video: Why Russia is banned from the 2018 Olympics . Read the IOC's report on Russian doping.

'Humiliation for the Country ': Russia Has Been Banned from the 2018 Olympics . Finally. They argue that Russia ’ s absence will negatively impact their sports as a whole and may not be fair to clean athletes . “Although we recognize the need to confront doping in sport, Olympic participation should

Tuesday's news was mostly well-received from the administrators, coaches and athletes who compete under the Team USA banner. Tiger Shaw, CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, said the decision "demonstrates a strong commitment to the importance of clean sport."

"Now we look to the International Ski Federation [FIS] to hold a FIS Council meeting to review the IOC's decision and related evidence to consider its impact on the Russian Ski Association, its FIS committee members, officials and athletes," he said in a statement.

Hayley Wickenheiser, a six-time Olympian from Canada and a member of the IOC's Athletes' Commission, says the burden now falls on the international federations for each sport as well as the IOC's review panel to insure that the Russians who do get to compete in PyeongChang are indeed clean.

"It is not lost on many clean athletes that Russian athletes who were part of this system may have had no choice but to comply," she said in a statement.

Buzzer sounds on Russian doping deniers as IOC finally, actually does the right thing .
Scott Stinson: In levelling unprecedented punishment on Russia, the IOC, belatedly, has responded in kind to what was an unprecedented scandal . By now the particulars of the Russian program are well known: a system run through the sports ministry that turned anti-doping scientists into agents performing the opposite role, that identified potential medallists and protected them from scrutiny, and that reached its remarkable apex at Sochi 2014, where Russian police literally swapped urine samples in the dark of night through a secret hole in the wall.

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