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Pyeongchang Winter Games : Russian Speed Skater Olga Graf Turns Down Her Invitation

Pyeongchang Winter Games : Russian Speed Skater Olga Graf Turns Down Her Invitation

Nazrin Mather

Published: 30 Jan 2018 3:39 PM GMT
Olga Graf, the Russian speed skater stated today to the media and press that she had turned down an International Olympic Committee (IOC) invitation to compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Games which is going to flag off the next month. Graf, who is one of the three female speed skaters on the list of 169 Russians chosen to compete in Pyeongchang, is the first eligible Russian athlete to publicly announce she would not compete at the Games. Her native country, Russia was banned last month from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea due to the accusation made by the IOC: the 'systematic manipulation' of the anti-doping testing system at the Sochi Games four years ago. However, the IOC had leveraged to let those athletes without a history of doping to compete at its invitation without the Russian tricolor, national emblems or anthem. Image result for olga graf
Olga said that the exclusion of many of her teammates would prevent 'Olympic Athletes from Russia,' the term used by the IOC to designate Russian competitors at the Games, from contending for a medal in the team pursuit event. In a Facebook post, she wrote, 'I'm glad that the IOC has recognised me as a clean athlete, which is what I am.' The post continued, 'I regret that more than half the national speed skating team did not receive invitations to the Olympics, including my partners in the team pursuit, who I don't doubt are clean. Having been deprived of the chance to compete for the Olympic podium in the team pursuit, I do not accept the IOC invitation for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.' The speed skater had won bronze medals in the 3000 metres and team pursuit events at the 2014 Sochi Games. The President of Russia's speed skating federation, Alexei Kravtsov, told RIA Novosti news agency that it respected Graf's decision. RIA quoted Kravtsov as saying on Tuesday, 'Two of her partners in the team pursuit did not receive an invitation to the Olympics. This is the event she was preparing for and she won't be able to take part in it.' In the last month, Russian authorities had said that they would support the athletes who chose to compete in Pyeongchang as neutrals following a ban of the Russian team, as well as those who decided to snub the Games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is most likely to issue its decision within this week regarding the legal case of 39 Russian athletes who have been banned from the Olympic Games after being found guilty of doping at Sochi.
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