MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Alternative sports competitions for Russian athletes who have not been invited to the Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang will be held across Russia in February-March 2018, Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told reporters on Thursday.
Due to the Russian Olympic Committee’s suspension, Russian athletes will perform at the PyeongChang Games only if they get a special invitation from the International Olympic Committee and wear uniforms reading ‘Olympic athlete from Russia.’ A total of 169 Russian athletes have received these invitations, but there are no names of leaders of Russia’s teams among them, including short-track speed-skater Viktor An, cross-country skier Sergey Ustiugov and biathlete Anton Shipulin.
"Special competitions will be held in various cities," Kolobkov said. "In Sochi, Khanty-Mansiysk and Kolomna in February - March," he said, noting that the competitions will take place whenever it is convenient for the athletes.
In 2016, when Russia’s Paralympic athletes were banned from the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Russia hosted alternative competitions for sports of the Paralympics program. The winners received financial rewards tantamount to those for the medals at the Paralympic Games.
The authorities also organized a Moscow competition Zvyozdy-2016 (Stars-2016) for the Russian track and field athletes who had been banned from the Rio Games over the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) suspension.