'Olympic Athletes from Russia'

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December 13, 2017
Russian ice hockey players with the words 'Russian is in my heart' on their sweatshirts attend an Russian Olympic committee meeting in Moscow, Russia, yesterday. Russia's Olympic Committee yesterday said its athletes are overwhelmingly in favour of competing at the 2018 Winter Games despite a ban on the national team.

MOSCOW,England (AP):

Despite Russia's ban from the upcoming Olympics, officials in the country still expect more than 200 of their athletes to compete at the Pyeongchang Games.

Under International Olympic Committee sanctions announced last week, all Russians must compete under the Olympic flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

"Potentially more than 200 athletes are in a position to qualify," ROC president Alexander Zhukov said after the organisation held a closed congress yesterday.

The decision to ban Russia came after the country was found to have run a sophisticated doping programme at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Yesterday, the IOC disqualified the Russian women's hockey team because six players were implicated in doping offences.

That brings the total of Russians banned from Sochi to 31 and makes Russia the first country in history with more than 100 Olympic disqualifications, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

Zhukov said the Russian Olympic committee unanimously voted for the athletes to compete despite the restrictions placed on the national team.

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