MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed the nation’s athletes to neglect about doping scandals once they compete on the Pyeongchang Olympics.
As punishment for what it deemed a doping scheme throughout the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Worldwide Olympic Committee has invited 169 Russians to compete beneath a impartial flag utilizing the identify “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
“I want you not to consider something which has just lately accompanied your preparation for these Olympics,” Putin informed a gathering of athletes at his presidential residence exterior Moscow on Wednesday.
He added that he hopes they “give attention to sporting competitors, and that you understand that following you, as regular, are lots of of 1000’s, hundreds of thousands, of followers who love you and hope you win.”
Whereas the athletes wore their IOC-approved “impartial” uniforms with out the Russian flag — grey for males, purple for ladies — the occasion was filled with patriotic gestures.
Hockey gamers Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk stepped as much as current Putin with a Russian jersey bearing his identify and gamers’ signatures together with the slogan “Russia in my coronary heart.”
A number of athletes wore their “impartial” jackets open to point out a Russian-flag shirt beneath.
Russian athletes will not be allowed to show the flag in Pyeongchang, or to have a good time with Russian flags given by followers. In the event that they win, the Olympic anthem will probably be performed.