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Kremlin: Russian athletes winning at Tokyo Olympics will make up for doping ban

By
Don Johnson
The Olympic rings are seen at the top of Mt. Takao in Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan on April 18. The Summer Games are scheduled to begin on July 23 and run through August 8. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
The Olympic rings are seen at the top of Mt. Takao in Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan on April 18. The Summer Games are scheduled to begin on July 23 and run through August 8. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 28 (UPI) -- Due to a doping ban, an official Russian team is prohibited from competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, but Moscow said Wednesday wins by Russian athletes at the event will compensate for the absence.

Sporting authorities ruled last December that Russia was banned for two years from using its anthem, displaying its name on uniforms and displaying its flag at the Olympics and world championship events.

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Instead, Russian athletes will compete under the acronym ROC, which stands for Russian Olympic Committee.

In a decision announced last week, the International Olympic Committee approved music by 19th-century composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky to replace the Russian anthem at the Tokyo Games, as well as the Winter Olympics next year in Beijing.

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Music from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 will play in medal ceremonies when Russian athletes or teams win gold.

Asked at a news briefing Wednesday how Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the anthem news, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "This was the IOC decision... Therefore, I would like to refrain from giving opinions."

"We all certainly wish to hear our beautiful anthem being played, but the most important thing now is for our athletes to win," he added. "Their wins will compensate for everything."

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The Russian Olympic Committee last month sent a request to the IOC to use Tchaikovsky's musical piece in place of the national anthem.

The Russian ban followed the findings of an independent investigatory committee that determined the Russians were "non-compliant" with the World Anti-Doping Code. Russian officials were found to have manipulated data from their Moscow laboratory in an attempt to mislead investigators.

The decision to ban Russia's formal presence at the Games was made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The ban applies to the Tokyo Games, Beijing Games and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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The ruling also stripped Russia of the right to bid on hosting all international sports tournaments for two years.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics are scheduled to run from July 23 through August 8.

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Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka lights the flame of hope in the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on July 23. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

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