MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. Russia is actively supporting its athletes and contacting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to serve the interests of the Russian Olympic athletes, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, commenting on the writing of an open letter by Russian short-track skater Viktor Ahn to the president of the IOC, which banned him from performance at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
Peskov reiterated that some athletes are defending their interests in court, others appeal to the public opinion or the IOC management.
"It is their right. We have supported and continue to support our athletes; you know there are intensive contacts with the IOC currently in order to clarify the situation so as to fully protect and serve the interests of the athletes who will be able to perform at the Olympics," the Kremlin spokesman said.
The IOC earlier refused to give Ahn an invitation to the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, after which the short-track skater wrote an open letter to the IOC president. The athlete stated in it that throughout his whole career he has never given reason to doubt the fairness of the titles earned by him.
Ahn represented South Korea’s team until 2011 and became a three-time Olympic Champion (all titles earned at the 2016 Olympic Games in Turin), as well as brought home 18 gold medals from world championships. In 2011, the athlete accepted Russian citizenship, explaining his decision by a wish to perform at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi at which he won three gold medals.
The IOC admitted 169 Russian athletes to the Games, who will perform under the Olympic banner as "Olympic athletes from Russia" in the wake of the sanctions slapped against the Russian Olympic Committee. It earlier emerged that the IOC did not invite some leading Russian athletes to the Olympics, among which, apart from Viktor Ahn, are biathlete Anton Shipulin, skier Sergei Ustyugov, speed skaters Pavel Kulizhnikov and Denis Yuskov, and figure skaters Ksenia Stolbova and Ivan Bukin.