MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. Russia’s short track speed skater Sofia Prosvirnova announced on Friday that she decided to accept an invitation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and to go to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang to "stand up to Russia’s honor."
Prosvirnova, 20, received the IOC’s 2018 Olympics invitation on Tuesday. Other athletes from Russia’s short track speed skating team with the extended invitations from the IOC are Yekaterina Yefremenkova, Yekaterina Konstantinova, Emina Malagich, Semen Elistratov, Pavel Sitnikov and Alexander Shulginov.
"I am travelling to the Olympics under a neutral flag and I will be defending the honor and dignity of our great country," Prosvirnova wrote on her Instagram account on Friday.
Prosvirnova is the 2014 World Championship’s bronze medalist in short track relay. She is also boasting a set of four gold, five silver and three bronze medals of the European championships. Prosvirnova also took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics, but did not clinch any medal at that event.
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Vice President Stanislav Pozdnyakov announced on Tuesday that the ROC received a preliminary list from the IOC Invitation Review Panel and it did not contain many athletes, including the team’s leaders in various sports.
Among them were 2014 Olympic Champion in biathlon Anton Shipulin, two-time World Champion in cross-country skiing Sergey Ustyugov, six-time Olympic Champion in short track speed skating Viktor Ahn, many-time world champions in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov and Denis Yuskov, and Olympic champion in figure skating’s pairs Ksenia Stolbova.
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board announced its decision to suspend the whole Russian national team from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang over multiple doping abuse allegations.
The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russia might go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’ The IOC reserved the right to the final word in regard to Russian athletes, who will go to PyeongChang under the neutral status.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.