PYEONGCHANG /South Korea/, February 25. /TASS/. Athletes who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games under the neutral flag [OAR, or the Olympic Athletes from Russia - TASS] did so for the benefit of the future of the entire Russian sports, Pavel Kolobkov, the Sports Minister told TASS by telephone from PyeongChang.
The closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang took place on Sunday. The OAR team won seventeen medals there - two golds, six silvers and nine bronzes. In all, 168 Russian athletes were entered in the Olympic tournament in PyeongChang..
"Our athletes took part in the Games for the sake of future generations, for the sakes of the future of Russian sports," Kolobkov said. "They performed for themselves and for the guys who didn’t have an opportunity to compete at the Games, and they coped with the job perfectly."
"This kind of a decision on the part of the International Olympic Committee [to admit Russian athletes to the Games only under the neutral Olympic flag - TASS] won’t break down the will and stamina of Russian athletes who have displayed these qualities quite a few times," the minister said. "Thursday’s hockey game [where the OAR team defeated Germany 4-3 in overtime TASS] offered one more proof of this."
"I take pride in the performance of our young team here at the Games," Kolobkov said. "Recall that for most of our athletes this was an Olympic debut. We did huge work to get them prepared for these competitions and they didn’t disappoint us."
"All of them are heroes, everyone without exception," he said. "In spite of this highly complicated situation, their displayed their iron will and high scores. These Games opened up many new names."
Earlier on Sunday, the IOC prolonged the disqualification of the Russian Olympic Committee, saying the accreditation of the latter would be resumed as soon the anti-doping agencies cleared all the Russian athletes, who competed at PyeongChang.
"I’m confident our team’s victories won’t fade away on the background of the accreditation problem," Kolobkov said.