Advertisement

Russia appeals to Olympic committee for permission to fly flag at 2018 Winter Games

Athletes from Russia wave during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Athletes from Russia wave during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Russia has appealed to Olympic authorities to restore its Olympic status and allow its athletes to march with the national flag on Sunday at the Winter Games closing ceremony, but it could be waiting until the last minute for a decision.

Russia’s Olympic delegation chief and its figure skating silver medallist, Evgenia Medvedeva, made the appeal on Saturday to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at Pyeongchang in a last-ditch bid to have Russia’s Olympic status restored.

WATCH: Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping
Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping

Russians are competing as neutrals at the Games because of allegations the country ran a systematic drug-cheating program at the 2014 Sochi Games. They have been unable to wear national uniforms or have the Russian anthem played at medal ceremonies.

“We firmly believe that we have completely fulfilled the conditions …,” delegation chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov told reporters after he and Medvedeva put their case to the IOC.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Olympics doping scandal leads to verbal exchange between Canada, Russia at Pyeongchang Games

Pozdnyakov said he had told the IOC executive board that his athletes had fully complied with a code of conduct that the IOC had set as a condition of restoring Russia’s Olympic status, despite two Russian athletes failing doping tests at the Games.

After the presentation, the board deliberated for hours, finally agreeing to resume talks on Sunday morning.

The resumed board meeting will be followed on Sunday by a full IOC session set to start at 9 a.m. (2400 GMT). The closing ceremony starts at 8 p.m. (1100 GMT).

WATCH: Russian mixed curling bronze on thin ice

Russian mixed curling bronze on thin ice
Russian mixed curling bronze on thin ice

The inconclusive talks suggest the board remains undecided, meaning Russia could be waiting right up until the start of the ceremony before it knows whether it can unpack its flag and dress its athletes in national uniform.

The two Russian doping cases, involving a medal-winning curler and a bobsledder, make it very tough for the IOC to lift the suspension, despite a large body of support within the organization for ending Russia’s Olympic punishment.

Despite Russia’s appeal to the IOC, some of its athletes were losing hope of getting their flag back.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Russian medal-winning curler suspected of doping at Pyeongchang Games

Russian medal-winning curler suspected of doping at Pyeongchang Games
Russian medal-winning curler suspected of doping at Pyeongchang Games

“As we’ve got two doping cases I don’t think they will allow us to be at the closing with the flag,” alpine skier Anastasia Silanteva told Reuters.

Pozdnyakov said he had apologized to the IOC for the doping cases, calling them isolated incidents of athlete negligence rather than anything systematic.

He said he had told the IOC that Russia had substantially reformed its anti-doping system, though more work lay ahead.

He has previously said Russians are focused on retrieving their flag more than winning medals in Pyeongchang.