clear
Wednesday December 13th, 2017 9:38AM

The red Russian uniforms will be gone, but not the athletes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MOSCOW (AP) — The International Olympic Committee has barred the Russian team from competing in Pyeongchang in February over widespread doping at the last edition of the Winter Games in 2014.

However, they will be allowed to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" under the Olympic flag. Gold medalists won't hear the Russian anthem played on the podium.

The IOC says the OAR team will be invitation-only, picked by a panel of anti-doping and medical officials from various organizations.

To be invited, Russian athletes must meet the usual Olympic qualifying standards but also "be considered clean to the satisfaction of the panel," meaning they can't have been previously banned for doping and must face extensive pre-Games drug testing.

It's not yet clear if Russian athletes plan to challenge these requirements in court. An IOC attempt to bar Russians with previous doping bans from last year's Summer Olympics was overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Under the current IOC rules, here's a look at how "Olympic Athletes from Russia" might fare in Pyeongchang:

HOCKEY

Russians have won men's hockey gold under the Olympic flag before.

Back in 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, players from ex-Soviet countries teamed up, including future Stanley Cup winners Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Zubov. It wasn't a punishment but political expediency in a chaotic political situation.

This time around, Russia's neutrals would have a good shot at gold, in the absence of NHL players. Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk, now playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, is keen to play. "We definitely have to go," he told Russian media after the IOC decision.

One obstacle could be KHL leadership, which previously threatened it might pull its players if Russia was punished over doping.

Russia's women's hockey team might be a contender for bronze but struggles to compete against the top two squads, the U.S. and Canada. Some women's players have also been accused of doping offenses related to tampering with their 2014 Olympic samples, so eligibility is an issue.

FIGURE SKATING

Russia sent just one athlete to appeal to the IOC board on Tuesday, 18-year-old skating prodigy Evgenia Medvedeva.

It's easy to see why. Unbeaten in two years, Medvedeva is the clear favorite for women's skating gold and in a sport where careers are short, "I don't know if I'll have another Games in my life after Pyeongchang," she told the board.

She's also not connected to any doping offenses from 2014, when she was just 14.

If Medvedeva goes to February's Olympics, she'd be joined by potential Russian medalists like pairs skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

ALPINE SKIING

Russia has never been an Alpine skiing power, but might have an outside shot at a medal under the Olympic flag.

Slalom specialist Alexander Khoroshilov in 2015 became the only Russian skier to win a World Cup event since 1981, when Russians still competed as part of the Soviet Union.

Three podiums last season show he could threaten the top three in Pyeongchang under the right conditions. Khoroshilov is based in Switzerland.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Key Russian skiers from the 2014 Olympics have already been banned by the IOC for doping, with four of Russia's five medals stripped.

Of the three Russian skiers who swept the podium in the 50-kilometer race on the final day in Sochi, the only one left is bronze medalist Ilya Chernousov, who now faces a possible upgrade to gold subject to IOC confirmation.

Still, a new generation of athletes could challenge for gold in Pyeongchang, led by Sergei Ustyugov, who won five medals at this year's world championships. IOC bans on skiers from Sochi will weaken Russia's strength in depth for relay events, which make up one-third of the program.

BIATHLON

Under the IOC criteria, Russia should be able to field nearly a full team in biathlon, the country's most-watched winter sport.

Russia has been stripped of two medals from the Sochi Olympics, with three of the women's relay team banned, but the athletes concerned had already retired.

Seven-time world championship medalist Anton Shipulin could be the key medal contender for Russia, though he's started the new season slowly.

IOC rules could block Alexander Loginov, who returned from a two-year doping ban last season to win a world championship relay bronze.

BOBSLEIGH

Individual doping bans from the IOC have already devastated Russian medal hopes in the bobsleigh and stripped the country of two gold medals won in Sochi.

Russia's sleds were already depleted by retirements since Sochi, even before the top Russian pilot in the two-man and four-man events, Alexander Kasyanov, was handed an IOC lifetime Olympic ban earlier this month.

In a detail unlikely to impress the IOC, a former athlete banned in the Sochi doping investigation, Alexander Zubkov, is now in charge of the Russian Bobsled Federation and will oversee athletes' preparation.

SKELETON

Russia had been counting on Sochi gold medalist Alexander Tretyakov and bronze medalist Elena Nikitina to repeat their success in Pyeongchang, but both were banned by the IOC earlier this month.

The top Russian with hopes of competing as a neutral is Nikita Tregubov, who won a silver medal in a World Cup race Nov. 25 and dedicated it to his banned teammates.

On the women's side, medal hopes appear remote.

SPEEDSKATING

The IOC's rules on previous doping bans could rule out Russian skating star Denis Yuskov for a sanction he received after testing positive for marijuana in 2008, even though it's not a performance-enhancing substance.

Tuesday's ruling opens the way for six-time Olympic short-track champion Viktor Ahn to return to South Korea and contend for more medals.

Previously known as Ahn Hyun-soo, he switched allegiance to Russia after failing to make the South Korean team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and his return in Pyeongchang will be hotly anticipated, regardless of which flag he competes under.

Women's skater Olga Fatkulina is ruled out after the IOC stripped her of her silver medal in the 500 meters from the Sochi Olympics earlier this month and banned her for life from the Games.

SNOWBOARD

Two of Russia's gold medalists from the Sochi Olympics, the slalom snowboarders and married couple Vic Wild and Alyona Zavarzina, could make a return as neutrals, though they've yet to comment on the IOC decision.

Medals are potentially possible in other disciplines such as big air or snowboard cross.

OTHER SPORTS

There could be outside medal chances for "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in freestyle skiing, luge and women's curling.

Whether or not they compete under their own flag, ski jumping and Nordic combined seem unlikely to result in any medals for Russians.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey, AP National News, AP Online National News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
APNewsBreak: Accusers take on toxic culture in TV newsrooms
Women who say they were sexually harassed or mistreated by powerful men in television news are banding together to form a support network aimed at changing newsroom culture
8:46AM ( 19 minutes ago )
French president visits Algeria to boost cooperation
French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling to Algeria for a one-day working visit aimed at strengthening the security and economic cooperation between the two countries
8:39AM ( 26 minutes ago )
The red Russian uniforms will be gone, but not the athletes
The International Olympic Committee has barred the Russian team from competing in Pyeongchang in February over widespread doping at the last edition of the Winter Games in 2014
8:38AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Stephen Curry to miss at least 2 weeks with sprained ankle
Stephen Curry will miss a minimum of two weeks after an MRI exam on his injured right ankle revealed a sprain
8:10AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Kremlin to analyze IOC ban before taking any steps
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Kremlin needs to analyze the International Olympic Committee's ruling to bar Russia and its sports officials from the upcoming Pyeongchang Games before making any decisions
7:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
Under Olympic flag, Russia can win medals
The International Olympic Committee has barred the Russian team from competing in Pyeongchang in February over widespread doping at the last edition of the Winter Games in 2014
3:39AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Sports
Steelers LB Shazier remains in hospital with back injury
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier remains in a Cincinnati hospital with a back injury
7:25PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Australia Olympic official supports IOC decision
Former NHL player Ilya Kovalchuk says Russia must go to the Olympics despite not being able to use its national flag at the Pyeongchang Games
4:26PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Kovalchuk says Russia must go to Olympics
Former NHL player Ilya Kovalchuk says Russia must go to the Olympics despite not being able to use its national flag at the Pyeongchang Games
3:53PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Hockey
Rock icon Johnny Hallyday, known as French Elvis, dies at 74
Johnny Hallyday, France's biggest rock star for more than half a century who all but lit up the Eiffel Tower with his pumping pelvis and high-voltage tunes, has died at age 74
8:13AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Report: West Coast homeless crisis pushes US count higher
Soaring rents in California, Oregon and Washington have led to a surge in homelessness in those states, pushing the US homeless population higher for the first time in seven years
8:06AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Warnings intensify as Trump readies Jerusalem declaration
Warnings intensify as Trump readies recognition of Jerusalem, drawing fierce criticism from American friends and foes
6:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
2 men in court in terror plot to kill British prime minister
British media are reporting that two men due in court to face terror charges plotted to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May
4:29AM ( 4 hours ago )
Recount looms in too-close-to-call Atlanta mayor's race
The race for mayor in Atlanta is too close to call, with one candidate declaring herself the city's new leader and the other vowing to request a recount
4:00AM ( 5 hours ago )
Senate OK of Trump judicial picks buoys GOP, Dems dismayed
The pace of confirmations for President Donald Trump's judicial nominees has quickly become a source of pride for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans
3:21AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
APNewsBreak: Accusers take on toxic culture in TV newsrooms
Women who say they were sexually harassed or mistreated by powerful men in television news are banding together to form a support network aimed at changing newsroom culture
8:46AM ( 20 minutes ago )
French president visits Algeria to boost cooperation
French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling to Algeria for a one-day working visit aimed at strengthening the security and economic cooperation between the two countries
8:39AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Survey: US businesses added a solid 190,000 jobs in November
Survey: US businesses added a solid 190,000 jobs in November, driven by big gain in factory jobs
8:37AM ( 29 minutes ago )
US productivity jumps 3 percent in third quarter
US productivity jumps 3 percent in third quarter, best showing in 3 years, while labor costs fall
8:34AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Hungarian EU parliament member indicted for alleged spying
Hungarian prosecutors say they have indicted Bela Kovacs, a member of the European Parliament, for allegedly spying on the European Union
8:31AM ( 35 minutes ago )