Russian athletes appearing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing will do so using the branding ‘ROC’, the acronym which represents the Russian Olympic Committee.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined on Friday the conditions that Russian athletes must follow when competing at the upcoming Summer and Winter Games as the nation serves its ban for alleged doping-related offenses.
The requirements are in line with the suspension from major international competitions handed down by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and subsequently upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in December – although the latter organization reduced the sanction from four years to two.
Any Russian athletes cleared to compete at this year’s rescheduled Tokyo Games and the Winter Olympics in China next year will not be allowed to do so under the Russian flag or anthem, or even represent the country by name.
Instead, the IOC stated on Friday that “athletes [are] to be entered by and represent the ‘Russian Olympic Committee’ and use ‘ROC’ as the acronym.”
“All public displays of the organization’s participant name should use the acronym ‘ROC’, not the full name ‘Russian Olympic Committee’,” the statement added.
To avoid use of the Russian flag, the IOC declared that athletes must use the image of the ROC – which features a flame with the white, blue and red tricolor above the Olympic rings – and apply it to a white background.
Concerning athletes’ attire, the ICO said that any “Russian flag or Russian Federation emblem/symbol” must be replaced with the ROC emblem.
“If the uniform includes the words ‘Russian Olympic Committee’, such wording should be removed all together or be replaced with the acronym ROC,” it added.
“If removing the words ‘Russian Olympic Committee’ is not possible or if the word ‘Russia’ or ‘Russian’ appears separately, then the words ‘Neutral Athlete’ for example must be included in a position and size that is no less prominent.”
With their anthem banned, the Russian Olympic Committee has been invited to submit a proposal for an alternative musical score to be used at ceremonies.
The head of the ROC, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, has already said the organization has submitted a request to use the popular folk-based song ‘Katyusha’.
Russia was handed a four-year ban back in December of 2019, after allegations that falsified lab data was sent to WADA investigators by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).
While the CAS in Switzerland reduced the ban from four to two years, the decision still means Russian athletes will be prevented from competing under their nation’s flag at major international events including this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the football World Cup in Qatar in 2022 (should the team qualify).
Prominent officials such as Russian President Vladimir Putin have also been banned from attending the Olympic Games, unless invited directly by a head of state in the host country.
Friday’s rules from the IOC also outlined the requirements Russian athletes are expected to follow for any events at World Championship level in 2021 and 2022, which follow the same broad restrictions but may vary depending on the specific sport.
At the last Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Russian competitors were known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” as the country also served out a ban related to alleged state-sponsored doping.