Olympics / Winter Olympics

IOC to bar Olympic Athletes of Russia from celebrating with Russian flag

Kyodo

The International Olympic Committee will crack down on independent Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, preventing them from celebrating with their national flag, IOC President Thomas Bach said Wednesday.

A total of 169 Olympic Athletes of Russia, possibly more depending on a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, are set to take part at Pyeongchang, which will open on Friday.

Olympic medalists often celebrate by taking their country’s flag on a “lap of honor” around the venue. With respect to the OARs, however, Bach, said they will be strictly prohibited from using the Russian flag — or face the consequences.

“The regulations are very clear that this is not allowed,” Bach said after the second day of the IOC Session. “The Olympic Athletes from Russia have signed a declaration of acceptance of these regulations, and as we said before all this will be monitored by the (OAR) implementation group.”

How many independent Russian athletes will compete at Pyeongchang is still unclear as the CAS continues to hear and deliberate the appeals of 47 individuals demanding to be reinstated from doping bans stemming from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The CAS was scheduled to announce a decision but the hearings could not be completed on Wednesday. The court expects to reach a verdict by Thursday evening or Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Pyeongchang organizers said Wednesday the total number of confirmed norovirus cases has risen to 86, up 54 from the previous day. Around 1,200 who have shown symptoms have been quarantined.

The organizing committee reported no confirmed cases among athletes. Fearing the norovirus and the cold, Japanese athletes did not attend Wednesday’s ceremony welcoming them to the athletes village.