IOC: Russians must not look Russian in Pyeongchang

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, attends a news conference after an Executive Board meeting on sanctions for Russian athletes, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC has laid down the conditions for Russian athletes allowed to compete at the Winter Games in February, which make clear that they must not try to look like Russians. ― Reuters pic
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, attends a news conference after an Executive Board meeting on sanctions for Russian athletes, in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC has laid down the conditions for Russian athletes allowed to compete at the Winter Games in February, which make clear that they must not try to look like Russians. ― Reuters pic

LAUSANNE, Dec 20 — The International Olympic Committee has laid down the conditions for Russian athletes allowed to compete at the Winter Games in February, which make clear that they must not try to look like Russians.

The IOC decided earlier this month that, in the light of overwhelming evidence of state-sponsored doping, Russia could not send a team to Pyeongchang but that athletes free of any suspicion of drug use could compete under the title “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR).

The IOC had also decided there would be no Russian anthems or flags in the opening or medal ceremonies. 

The rulings had led to speculation about how an OAR entrant might look, with some suggesting that team sponsor Nike would produce kit that would clearly mark them out as a national team.

Recent reports from Russia showed leaked images of kits, including the iconic “Red Machine” ice hockey uniforms.

The IOC today made clear that it would not permit Russian competitors to wear anything resembling the familiar red, white and blue national colours.

The IOC released a statement saying that its Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Committee (OARIG) had met “with representatives of the suspended Russian Olympic Committee” and “established a list of principles relating to the design of the OAR’s uniforms... accessories and equipment.” 

The competition and casual kit can only use two of the Russian colours and, if they include red or blue they should be in darker tones.

The team kit cannot be worn in a way to create a tricolour and team officials’ kit can only display have the “OAR” acronym. The Russian coat of arms, national emblems and Russian Olympic Committee marking are banned. 

The IOC suggested a circular logo that says “Olympic Athlete from Russia” in red writing on a white background, with no third colour.

The statement said “fonts should be in English and as generic as possible”, and the words “Olympic Athlete from” must be above the word “Russia” on athletes’ kits and in the same size of print. 

Yet the rules mean that OAR competitors could all wear the same uniforms and, even if these do not closely resemble previous Russian kits, they could then can create a recognisable identity. 

The IOC also said that its “OAR Invitation Review Panel” was having its second meeting today to establish “clear and detailed criteria” so every Russian permitted to compete in Pyeongchang “can be considered clean”. — AFP

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