Why is Russia banned from the Winter Olympics and what is the ROC?

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For the second consecutive Winter Olympics, Russian athletes will not compete under their country’s banner at Beijing 2022.

In December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) imposed a four-year ban from international sport against Russia for running what it considered a state-sponsored doping program.

That ban has since been reduced to two years, but qualified athletes will compete under the abbreviation ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) in China.

At the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Russian athletes competed under the Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) tag, winning 17 medals – curlers Alexander Krushelnitskiy and Anastasia Bryzgalova were stripped of mixed doubles bronze after the first tested positive for meldonium, a substance banned at the Games.

Here’s everything you need to know about the ROC and the background to the Russian ban:

Why was Russia banned?

Russia has been found guilty of a state-sponsored doping scheme, in which Russian officials falsified data provided by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

Russian athletes were subsequently banned from competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, with Russia having been banned from competing as a country in athletics since 2015.

Russia has vigorously denied any involvement in a state-sponsored doping program, appealing the initial four-year ban from 2019.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) has found its anti-doping agency non-compliant, as a three-judge panel unanimously agreed that the Russian anti-doping agency (Rusada) failed to provide authentic doping test data to the request from WADA. , who originally requested a four-year ban.

Cas’s decision reduced the ban to two years and means that athletes and teams who were to represent Russia are not allowed to use the Russian name, flag or anthem, and are instead required to present themselves as “neutral athlete” or “neutral athlete”. Team”.

Russia cannot host or bid for Olympic, Paralympic or World Championship-level events during the ban, and will only be reinstated if it complies with all sanctions and pays all corresponding fines.

What is ROC?

The ROC will send 212 competitors to Beijing 2022.

ROC stands for Russian Olympic Committee, which is allowed to represent Russian athletes because the ban was not outright, only forcing them to remove the team name and national anthem at sporting events.

The International Olympic Committee clarified that “all public displays of the name of the organization’s participants must use the acronym ‘ROC’ and not the full name ‘Russian Olympic Committee'”.

Athletes competing for the ROC are those who have been able to prove that they were not involved in the doping scandal at all.

Only the colors of the flag can appear on the uniform, according to IOC guidelines, while a section of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 will be used de facto as the national anthem, as was the case in Tokyo on last summer.


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