IOC is set to announce Russian ‘neutral’ team for Winter Olympics
With Russia banned from the 2018 Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee is expected to issue a list Saturday of athletes from the nation who have satisfied the requirements to compete for a neutral team.
Earlier this week, Russian officials told reporters they have submitted 169 names for inclusion on the designated “Olympic Athlete from Russia” roster.
“However, we believe it is possible that some athletes would decide against participation as a gesture of solidarity,” Stanislav Pozdnyakov, vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee, was quoted as saying by the Tass news agency.
Russia was banned from the Games in response to an ongoing doping scandal that has involved widespread cheating by athletes, coaches and officials throughout the country. Investigators have found evidence that Russian laboratory workers manipulated samples to help their athletes avoid detection.
The IOC created the neutral squad for athletes who can prove they have competed cleanly. Those athletes will wear specially designed uniforms and march under a neutral flag at the opening and closing ceremonies.
Viktor Ahn, a six-time gold medalist in short track speedskating, is reportedly not on the list and has demanded an explanation from the IOC.
The Games are scheduled for Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
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