Russian athletes are participating at the Olympics 2021. The country has a rich history of producing great Olympians over the years. This year, Russia has sent 335 athletes to the quadrennial event in Japan. The squad includes notable athletes Daniil Medvedev, Yuliya Yefimova, Andrey Minakov, Andrey Rublev, Sergey Kozyrev and others.
However, the Russian athletes will participate as neutral players under the Russian Olympic Committee flag. This is because Russia as a country has been debarred from the Olympics. Also, the country's national anthem will not be played if any Russian athlete wins a gold medal.
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Why are Russia's flag and national anthem debarred from the Olympics 2021?
Russian athletes have been accused of widespread doping violations since 2008. The country was accused of destroying evidence through manipulation of data during an investigation by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In 2019, WADA imposed a ban on Russia from competing in any major sporting event for a period of four years due to the country's refusal to be transparent with doping data. The ban was later reduced to two years after Russia appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
Though Russia as a country can't be part of any sporting event, their athletes are allowed to compete under the neutral flag i.e. Russian Olympic Committee flag. Russia's doping violations led to the country being stripped off of 53 medals, including 43 Olympic medals - the most by any country.
The first Russian doping case came to light when seven track and field athletes were banned from competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after they were accused of manipulating urine samples. Since then, there have been many instances of doping violations by Russian athletes.
Russia as a country hasn't been part of any major sporting event since the 2018 Winter Games. However, the athletes who are cleared of the charges are permitted to participate in the international competitions.
At the Olympics 2021, more than 10 track and field athletes, two rowers and two weightlifters were disallowed due to doping. Two qualified Russian swimmers, Veronika Andrusenko and Aleksandr Kudashev, were removed from the swimming team based on evidence provided by the Moscow drug laboratory. However, they were later given clean chits to participate by the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
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