Russians can compete at Olympics, but without flag — IOC

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Any Russian athlete hoping to earn invitations to Pyeongchang will have to come through a stricter-than-usual testing regime and not have a doping violation on their record.

And likely winning some medals.

Russian Washington Capitals players Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will support any of their countrymen who chose compete at the Winter Olympics despite an International Olympic Committee decision banning Russia from the Games, they said on Wednesday.

It's not yet clear if Russian athletes plan to challenge those requirements in court.

Russian athletes or teams will participate under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)", ESPN reported.

Russians have won men's hockey gold under the Olympic flag before. Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk, now playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, is keen to play.

Russia's women's hockey team might be a contender for bronze but struggles to compete against the top two squads, the US and Canada. However, the 2018 Winter Olympics is going a step further by introducing weird robot volunteers.

Peskov said that while the situation is serious, "emotions should be kept down and the decisions taken by the International Olympic Committee on our country should be thoroughly analyzed before making any accusations on this account".

It's easy to see why.

Pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva told TASS: "Addressing our athletes, I want to say that they should absolutely not despair and should continue training for the games".

She's also not connected to any doping offenses from 2014, when she was just 14.

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If Medvedeva goes to February's Olympics, she'd be joined by potential Russian medalists like pairs skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

Slalom specialist Alexander Khoroshilov in 2015 became the only Russian skier to win a World Cup event since 1981, when Russians still competed as part of the Soviet Union.

Three podiums last season show he could threaten the top three in Pyeongchang under the right conditions.

The ban is Russia's punishment for a massive state-sponsored doping scheme.

"I watched the Sochi games non-stop".

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was sports minister during the Sochi Games, has also been banned for life by the IOC.

So this ban is against the IOC's self-interest.

"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate).

Despite this, Russians who can prove they are clean and that have not been previously sanctioned, will still be allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

However, he took issue with the IOC's stance in a statement on the ROC's website. Before Putin's statement, Victor An, the Korean-born short-track speed-skater said that he would go unless Russian Federation boycotted the Olympics. "Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now".

Medals are potentially possible in other disciplines such as big air or snowboard cross. These athletes will be wearing the Olympic flag instead of the Russian flag and during any ceremonies they are in the Olympic anthem will be played.

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