MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday thanked the Russian ice hockey players who sang the Russian national anthem after victory in the final of the ice hockey tournament of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
"We heard our ice hockey players sing the anthem [after victory in a game versus Germany - TASS]," he said at a gala ceremony in honor of the Russian Olympic athletes in the Kremlin. "Thank you for your appreciation of your homeland and your caring attitude to what you’ve been doing your whole life. Millions of people celebrate your victories in the same way you do."
"Other athletes said we had been stripped of many things before the Olympics," Putin told the Olympians. "It's true that someone can take away just absolutely anything except character. You proved it once again with your performance [at the Games]."
"What you did was vivid and beautiful, and watching your competitions filled us with pride," Putin said.
Last Sunday, the Russian Olympic ice hockey team won in the final versus Germany 4-3. During the awarding ceremony, the players and the fans sang the Russian national anthem while the official Olympic anthem was played through the public address system.
The International Olympic Committee [IOC] banned the Russian national Olympic team from the Olympic Games in PyeongChang following suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee’s membership. Team Russia appeared at the Games after severe cuts on its list as Olympic Athletes from Russia [OAR].
Also, the IOC published a list of requirements and regulations for conduct the OAR members were expected to abide by so that the national Olympic committee could get back its IOC membership.
One of the regulations required that the athletes and other members of the delegation would not sing their national anthem at any Olympic facilities.
The IOC, however, treated the ice hockey team’s choice of the anthem with understanding. "We understand that this was overexcitement by the athletes who had just won a gold medal in extraordinary circumstances," it said in a statement.