In ROC disguise, Russia has a lot to celebrate at Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — Russia by any other identify is just as prosperous at the Olympics. The rebranded crew — regarded at the Tokyo Game titles as ROC, small for Russian Olympic Committee — quickly beat its medal focus on by surpassing the haul of 56 from the 2016 Rio de […]

TOKYO (AP) — Russia by any other identify is just as prosperous at the Olympics.

The rebranded crew — regarded at the Tokyo Game titles as ROC, small for Russian Olympic Committee — quickly beat its medal focus on by surpassing the haul of 56 from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The team was certain of leaving Tokyo with at the very least 70 medals as of Saturday night.

That was regardless of obtaining to compete without the need of the nationwide flag or anthem adhering to a legal struggle last calendar year at the Court docket of Arbitration for Activity. Russia, accused by the Globe Anti-Doping Company of operating a point out-backed doping program, was later punished for tampering with information from a Moscow laboratory. Russia denies wrongdoing.

Some in Russia took the sanctions as an affront. Lots of of the country’s critics in the sporting activities earth argued the punishment did not go significantly plenty of, especially provided athletes continue to competed in national shades.

The restrictions ended up “not any kind of problem for our athletes from the viewpoint of sporting results, and we have all noticed this with our have eyes,” ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov reported.

Pozdnyakov also congratulated various officers on the achievement of getting no athletes check beneficial at the Tokyo Olympics, praising them for “fighting against negative influences in sporting activities.”

Two rowers did check optimistic right before the Tokyo Games, forcing Russian officers to withdraw their crew, but there have been no accusations that any staff users doped in Japan.

Russia experienced a turn as the aggrieved bash when it was announced Brazilian volleyball participant Tandara Caixeta experienced analyzed positive just before the Olympics. The end result was only declared soon after she experienced already played her portion in reducing the Russian squad in the quarterfinals.

Russian athletes gained victories in the men’s and women’s group all-all-around in gymnastics. Swimmer Evgeny Rylov gained gold medals in the men’s 100- and 200-meter backstroke gatherings, wins which established the swimming community speaking about no matter if he really should have been competing given Russia’s previous doping scandals.

“It is a massive psychological drain on me to hear I’m swimming in a race which is in all probability not thoroughly clean,” explained American swimmer Ryan Murphy, who completed powering Rylov in both equally backstroke races. “That is what it is.”

Murphy afterwards mentioned he was not accusing Rylov of dishonest. Quickly soon after, the ROC hit out at its critics in a social media submit with shots of Murphy and other athletes, saying some ended up just sore losers.

“Yes, we are here at the Olympic Game titles. Absolutely by appropriate. No matter if someone likes it or not,” the statement said. “You need to have to be capable to eliminate. Not absolutely everyone has that gift.”

Rylov became a cult hero back again property, much less for the controversy than for his cat-themed confront mask. Other individuals shot to fame for their courage beneath force, like Maxim Khramtsov, who received taekwondo gold with a hand personal injury, and Madina Taimazova, who took judo bronze with a seriously swollen eye.

The Russian athletes have trapped to the guidelines and deflected any questions away diplomatically. Politicians and officers, not so a great deal.

The president of the nonetheless-suspended Russian track federation, Irina Privalova, blamed the limitations on the group for a spate of injuries, such as a torn Achilles tendon for former 110-meter hurdles earth winner Sergei Shubenkov. Uncertainty about the Olympics remaining the entire team “on the edge,” she told condition information agency Tass.

Overseas Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a online video of herself pummeling a model emblazoned with the term “Press” as she promoted an official hashtag for the rebranded team — #WeWillROCYou.

The new identify has been very good fodder for puns. An all-Russian last in tennis in combined doubles became the “ROC n’ Roll Final” on the team’s social media.

Pozdnyakov experienced a particular explanation to rejoice, far too. The ROC president’s daughter Sofia Pozdniakova gained unique and crew gold medals in saber fencing. Her 4-time gold medalist father won the two gatherings during his career but never ever at a solitary Olympics.

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Additional AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports activities

Elva Zachman

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