Tokyo Olympics: Controversy after Russia’s uniforms have been revealed

Last December 2020, it was announced that Russia will be banned from the Tokyo Olympic Games by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. After having been the subject of a huge scandal in 2016, when it was discovered that spies were falsifying urine samples in order to escape doping controls, history repeated itself when it was discovered that Russia manipulated computer reports and again had notably suppressed positive tests.

Consequently, Russia as a country will not be able to appear during these Olympic Games as well as those of Beijing in 2022. However, 10 Russian athletes having proved their innocence concerning the use of drugs and were authorized to compete under certain specific conditions, which ones?

A “neutral” uniform

Among the list of the restrictions imposed to the Russian athletes, it was stipulated that to be able to present themselves to the Tokyo Games, they had to carry uniforms on which appeared neither the Russian flag, nor their country name.

Nevertheless, the uniform revealed this week has all the colors of the Russian flag: white, blue, red in the same order as said flag. For comparison, when Russia had similar restrictions during the PyeongChang games in 2018, the uniforms could not contain more than two colors present on the flag of the country. This is controversial because even if the flag itself is not present, the country represented remains very easily identifiable:

“You don’t really need to have a strong imagination. In those uniforms that you saw, our national flag can be seen really really obviously,”
— Stanislav Pozdnyakov, Russian Olympic Committee president

Despite this, the International Olympic Committee assured:

“The ROC uniform designs for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are in line with the established and published implementation guidelines, the uniforms have been approved on this basis.”

The flag of the Russian team in Tokyo and Beijing will be the Russian Olympic Committee symbol – an Olympic flame with the white, blue and red stripes of the national flag above the five Olympic rings.

A “neutral” name

In 2018 during the PyeongChang games, Russian athletes had competed under the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” This time, it is under the acronym ROC which stands for Russian Olympic Committee that they will be present.

In addition to the name of the team and the uniform, the Russian national anthem as a celebration for gold medal winners also had to be replaced. After having rejected the use of the famous Russian patriotic song Katyusha, it is Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 that was accepted this week.

Written by: Julie Dupond, AngloINFO Staff Writer