Russian athletes in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics are competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC)
You may be wondering why they are not referred using their country name as is to other nations in the competition.
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This is to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games even though Russia was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for its “state-sponsored doping program,”
All the 335 Russian athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics are not allowed to use their country’s name, flag, or anthem at the games.
Why are Russians competing under the designation ‘ROC’?
Because ROC does not represent a country, the athletes that compete under the designation are barred from showing the Russian flag.
Russia was banned from the 2021 Olympics by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for the country’s massive doping scheme.
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The World Doping Agency conducted an investigation and discovered that more than 1,000 Russian athletes benefitted or were involved in government-sponsored doping programs between 2011 and 2015.
Russia was initially banned from the Olympics, Paralympics, and World Championship games for four years, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened that period to two years.
Russian athletes who did not take part in the doping scheme are still allowed to compete in the games, but only as neutrals. This means that if they win a medal for any competition, the Russian national anthem will not be played.
However, athletes with an ROC designation are allowed to wear their country’s colors on their uniform.