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Provocations possible in regard to Russian athletes at 2018 Olympics, sports minister says

Athletes from Russia will participate under the IOC’s neutral status in the 2018 Winter Games

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Provocations in regard to Russian national athletes competing under a neutral flag status are possible at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said on Thursday.

"There are no more reasons for pressurizing (Russian athletes)," Kolobkov told journalists. "It is high time for us together with foreign colleagues to calm down, to jointly organize sports competitions and participate in them."

"I believe that there would be provocations and a surge of fake news (during 2018 Games)," the Russian sports minister added. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) published earlier in the week a set of guidelines in regard to uniforms of Russian athletes and national officials, who will be cleared to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in the neutral status.

The list of guidelines, published on Wednesday on the official website of the world’s governing Olympic body, contains 13 provisions stipulating requirements for Russian athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games.

The IOC’s Executive Board announced its decision on December 5 to suspend the 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 could go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or what the IOC labels as the OAR status, which stands for ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia.’

In line with IOC’s published list of requirements, "Athletes’ uniforms (Ceremonies, competition, training and casual), accessories and equipment can only have two types of wordmarks: "OAR" and/or "Olympic Athlete from Russia," while officials accompanying them "can only have one type of wordmark: ‘OAR.’"

The IOC also prohibited any resemblance of the Russian national flag on uniforms stating that "Only single or dual color elements are permitted on uniforms" adding that "separate items of clothing cannot create a tricolor."

"No national identifications design elements should be featured on the uniforms," one of 13 provisions on the IOC list stated in particular.

A source in the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) told TASS on Wednesday that the ROC filed with the IOC a list of 350 national athletes planning to participate under the IOC’s neutral status in the 2018 Winter Games.

The initial list of Russia’s athletes planning to go for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was approved by the ROC in April 2017 and had a total of 633 athletes.
The upcoming Olympics, which are the 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.