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Speed skater Graf becomes first Russian athlete to bow out of 2018 Olympics

January 30, 17:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Speed skater Olga Graf who won two bronze medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi has called the IOC decision to let Russian athlete compete in PyeongChang as neutrals "humiliating"

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Olga Graf

Olga Graf

© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Speed skater Olga Graf has become the first Russian athlete who decided not to take part in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

Graf who won two bronze medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi announced her plans on Facebook, calling the International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Russian athlete compete in PyeongChang as neutrals "humiliating."

"As an athlete and as I citizen, I condemned the IOC decision to allow Russians compete under the neutral status but was ready to defend the country’s honor even on these discriminatory and humiliating conditions," Graf said in her Facebook post.

"But in late January we learned that most members of our Olympic speed skating team will not be able to compete in the Games. It means that all my hopes in the struggle for the Olympic podium will not come true as sports have become collateral damage in dirty political games," she said.

Graf explained that she expected to win an Olympic medal in a team race but her hopes were ruined due to the IOC’s ban of most members of the speed skating team.

"Therefore, I do not accept the IOC invitation to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang," she said.

The upcoming Olympics will be held on February 9-25, 2018. The International Olympic Committee allowed 169 Russian athletes to take part in the Games as neutrals.

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