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CIS athletes entitled to their own flags and anthems in Barcelona

By JOHN SALVADO UPI Sports Writer

COURCHEVEL, France -- Any individual medalists from the former Soviet republics at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona will be entitled to have their own flags and anthems displayed at the award ceremonies, the president of the International Olympic Committee said Sunday.

'If an individual athlete is a winner, say (pole vaulter Sergei) Bubka is a winner, the Ukrainian flag will be raised and the Ukrainian anthem will be played,' said Juan Antonio Samaranch.

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The Commonwealth of Independent States has already said it will compete at the Summer Olympics and in other major sporting competitions in 1992 under the banner of the Unified Team.

Any victories in team events by the Unified Team in Barcelona will be greeted by the five-ringed Olympic flag and Olympic anthem. The question of what will happen if a team consisting of members from just one republic -- such as a tennis doubles pair from Russia -- wins gold has not yet been considered.

By the end of the year, many of the former Soviet republics hope to have their own National Olympic Committees recognized by the IOC so they will be able to compete in future Olympic Games in their own right.

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IOC Director General Francois Carrard described the proposal as a flexible response to what is 'a transitionary' situation in the CIS.

'This is a decision that was made with situations like that in the Ukraine in mind,' said Carrard.

The IOC will make a trip to the former Soviet Union starting April 5 -- taking in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which are competing at Albertville as separate NOCs -- and several other republics. The full itinerary has yet to be confirmed.

Five of the former Soviet Republics -- Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan -- are competing at the Albertville Games under the name of the Unified Team. Wins are recognized with the Olympic flag and anthem.

But many of the athletes have voiced their disappointment that their victories have not been recognized by their own anthems.

At the conclusion of Saturday's events in Albertville, the Unified Team had collected 13 medals, including five golds.

Last weekend Samaranch had confirmed that future bids by more than one country for Winter Olympics would be considered by the IOC.

Slovenia, Austria and Italy are considering a joint bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

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But when questioned about the same plan involving future Summer Games, Samaranch said Sunday: 'I think this rule is only for Winter Games. The answer is 'No.''

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