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Why Russian Athletes Marched as R.O.C. in the Opening Ceremony

Russian athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics marched in the opening ceremony as R.O.C.
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Tokyo Olympics: Opening Ceremony Updates
Russia isn’t at the Games. Yet there it is.
July 23, 2021, 8:35 a.m. ET
July 23, 2021, 8:35 a.m. ET
Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

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Russia has been banned from the Games because of its state-sponsored doping program.

Well, sort of.

Russian athletes who have not been caught doping themselves are still allowed to compete. But their team cannot be known as “Russia,” the Russian flag is banned and so is its anthem. Instead, the team was introduced as “Russian Olympic Committee.”

A good number of Russian athletes emerged 77th in the parade of nations, looking like any other country. Their flag included the Olympic rings, but also red, white and blue waves, not coincidentally the colors in Russia’s flag.

Without any fans present, there was no way to gauge the response of Olympic lovers to the team from any cheers or boos.


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