Russia to compete under different name after rebranding


Tokyo Olympics: Russia is competing under another new name at the Tokyo Olympics, the latest in a long line of doping scandals at the Games.

You don’t see the Russian flag on any of the pulpits, but the colors are on the national costume.

Old and new doping incidents still cast a shadow over the team. Two swimmers from the Tokyo team have been suspended for cases they had in previous years, and two rowers tested positive last month.

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This time Russia and even the Olympic athletes are not from Russia. This is the Russian Olympic Committee.

Officially, the athletes represent the ROC, not their country, and the name, flag, and anthem of Russia are banned. Critics point out that it will be difficult to see the difference when Russian commanders wear full national costumes.

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The Russian red, white, and blue uniforms are fine – the color blocks on the formal suits form a large flag, but not the word “Russia,” the flag itself, or other national symbols. The artistic swimming group said it was forbidden to wear costumes with a picture of a bear.

Official Olympic documents and television graphics will attribute Russia’s results to the ROC, but the name of the Russian Olympic Committee will not be fully known. The gold medalists will receive music from Russian composer Tchaikovsky instead of the country’s national anthem.


Despite the name change, Russia will have an almost full squad after sending the vacated teams to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics and the 2018 Pyongyang Winter Games.

This time, only the athletics and weightlifting team will impose restrictions on the Russian team. They are two sports that have a large number of doping cases – from Russia and elsewhere – in the recent Olympics. Russian authorities have selected a team of 10 trackers, including three world champions.

Russia is sending more than 330 athletes to Tokyo, the exact number of which is still unclear due to uncertainty surrounding the rowing team. This is about 50 more than in 2016, when doping-related restrictions were more severe in many sports, but nevertheless, this is the second lowest number since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The team ranges from 16-year-old gymnast Victoria Listunovo to 56-year-old. – The old rider Inessa Merkulova.

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The ROC team aims to take third place in the medal count, and gold medals are expected in Russia’s most powerful sports such as gymnastics, rhythmic swimming, wrestling, fencing and judo.

Only Russian athletes in athletics have to pass a special test for a history of drug testing or possible involvement in past undercover work. World Atletics has its own sanctions against Russia, including a “neutral neutral authorized athlete” certification program. Only athletes with such a status were eligible for Tokyo.

Weightlifting has its own doping rule system that restricts team composition based on past misconduct. Russia can bring a man and a woman to Tokyo, but it will prevent the strict Olympic weightlifting bans imposed on regular criminals, such as Thailand and Romania.

Doping disputes

The latest rules on Russia’s name and image were set last year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport with a verdict that almost did not satisfy anyone.

As is often the case with Russia, sanctions are not so much about doping, but about secrecy.

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When Russia restored its relationship with the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 by allowing access to the cases of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, WADA investigators noticed some surprising flaws in this information. The evidence was destroyed and false information was added, including fake messages designed to discredit the name of WADA star witness, former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.

WADA said the edits were closed while the lab was sealed by Russian law enforcement. Russia has denied the allegations.

The CAS verdict was hailed as a partial victory in Russia, with its initial four-year sanction reduced to two. It has been criticized by some anti-doping figures who wanted the Olympics to have a neutral colored uniform and stricter testing so that doping suspects could not compete.


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