Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Olympics-Pyeongchang in a cold sweat over freezing opening ceremony

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets the audience at the congress of volunteers in Moscow Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin greets the audience at the congress of volunteers in Moscow Russia
Nellie Chapman | 07 December, 2017, 16:25

"We supported athletes who chose to compete under a neutral flag before and we are doing the same now".

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would not prevent its athletes from competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics if they wanted to, damping down calls from some Russians for a boycott of the Games.

South Korea's sports ministry said on Thursday that the ban on Russia participation is "regrettable", and urged Russian athletes to take part.

Any Russian athlete who does compete in Pyeongchang must do so as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR), in uniforms bearing that acronym. The trying to put pressure on global sporting bodies "which has nothing in common with the ideology of the Olympic movement", Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, the Tass news service reported.

Putin said that taking those thoughts into consideration, the authorities will "definitely not impede anybody or ban anyone, or create conditions for their participation to become impossible".

The IOC are depending on the success of the Olympic Truce signed last month, despite host nation Russian Federation having invaded the Crimea region of Ukraine during the truce window of the last Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.

While the Kremlin denies the existence of any state-run doping program, Putin appeared to soften criticism of the investigation.

Russian state TV channels have said the allegations are an anti-Russia witch hunt and have pushed the #NoRussiaNoGames hashtag.

It's acceptable for Russian athletes to compete under the IOC's terms, two-time gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said, according to Interfax. He suggested that the using the issue as a means to influence the Russian presidential election in March.

"So there are still more questions than answers and they all need to clarified".

In comments bound to exasperate the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and sports community, Haley suggested that a final decision should be made closer to the time.