Russian Athletes Represent Olympic Flag

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Alyssa Curran, Contributor

The 2018 Winter Olympics are right around the corner, starting on February 9th in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Much talk about the games has been increasing due to the controversy of Russia and their athletes competing in the games.

Although Russia has been banned from the 2018 Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to athletes caught doping in the 2014 games and the government’s support of doping, athletes are still eligible to participate in competition. Instead of representing Russia in the games, the athletes from Russia will be represented as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and will compete under the Olympic flag. In order for these athletes to be invited, they must meet the usual Olympic protocol and also be considered “clean to the satisfaction of the panel”, meaning they could not have been previously been banned for doping and must face extensive pre-game drug testing. 

Allowing Russian athletes into the Olympics gives athletes who follow the rules and procedures a fair opportunity to compete in the sport they have been training for. Russia, along with the United States, has been a continuous powerhouse in many sports during the games. Podium winners that represented Russia in the 2014 Olympics won in Hockey, Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Speed skating, and Snowboard. Many athletes this year have the chance to take the podium in numerous other sports under the Olympic flag.

On December 5th, Russia sent 18-year old skating prodigy named Evgenia Medvedeva to the IOC to appeal to the board. Medvedeva, who has been undefeated in the past two years, pleaded her case that she may not reach the Olympics again after 2018 and wants the chance to win. It is clear to see why she came to appeal with she had a perfect record. Medvedeva participated in the 2014 Olympics and was not connected to any doping offenses, which gave her a strong case. If she competes in the games this year she will likely be competing alongside medalists like pairs skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. Nikita Avtaneev, a 22 year old snow boarder from Russia also plans to compete in the games. He is one of the many Russian athletes ready to go through procedures of drug testing and olympic trials to participate in Pyeongchang. 

Over the next couple of weeks, athletes from Russia will have the opportunity to participate in the Olympics as long as they follow the proper procedure. If they have a clean background and pass the drug tests, they will have equal opportunity to compete in the games. The Chieftain Press will keep you updated, not only on Russia, but the 2018 Olympic games that begin on February 9th.