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Russian athletes to compete at international ski tournaments under national Olympic flag

Earlier this month, the Athletes Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) proposed using "Katyusha," Russia’s most popular song in World War II, instead of the national anthem at the Olympic Games

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Russian national teams of Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined, Alpine Skiing and Snowboard, and Freestyle will be participating in the 2021 World Championships under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Yelena Vyalbe, the head of the Russian Ski Association (RSA), told TASS on Tuesday.

In line with the sanctions of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Russian sports, national athletes from Russia were banned from participating in the Olympic Games and World Championships under the national flag and to the tune of the Russian anthem until December 16, 2022.

Earlier this month, the Athletes Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) proposed using "Katyusha," Russia’s most popular song in World War II, instead of the national anthem at the Olympic Games.

"All teams from the Russian Ski Association will be participating in the upcoming world championships under the name ‘Russian Ski Federation (RSF)’," Vyalbe said. "We have also approved the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee."

"As for the anthem of our teams, FIS [the International Ski Federation] is waiting for a decision from the International Olympic Committee [IOC] and the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] regarding the use of Katyusha," she said. "If they decide against [the use of Katyusha], our athletes will be competing to the tune of the FIS anthem."

The Russian Ski Association (RSA) is an umbrella organization that includes four Russian sports federations, namely: Alpine Skiing & Snowboard Federation, Freestyle Federation, Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined Federation and Cross-Country Skiing Federation.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland’s Lausanne upheld on December 17 WADA’s (the World Anti-Doping Agency) previous ruling on a number of sanctions against Russian sports.

According to the CAS decision as of December 17, 2020, Russian athletes were deprived of their right to participate in all World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games under the national flag of Russia for the two-year period.

The national anthem of Russia was also ruled out to be played at international sport tournaments in the course of the next two years, including at the upcoming Olympic Games in Japan this year.

The ruling of the Swiss-based court also stripped Russia of the right to bid for the organization of all international sports tournaments for the period of two years. WADA’s sanctions will be in force until December 2022.