Russia announces ‘Parallel Olympics’ for its banned athletes

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev - InsideSport

Russia is set to hold an alternative Olympic and Paralympic Games for its athletes who were banned from Pyeongchang 2018. The news comes after Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected the appeals from 45 Russian athletes, who were hoping to compete at Pyeongchang 2018, a day before the Winter Games kicked-off.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree to organize an event on the lines of Olympics, similar to the one held for the country’s athletes before the 2016 Rio Games, Russian news agency TASS has reported.

“The Olympic Games are underway, and we are cheering for our athletes who are being in rather complicated conditions there. However, athletes who were not admitted to the Olympics on a spurious pretext, because of a vociferous political campaign unleashed against our country, suffered even more,” Medvedev has told TASS.

“I have signed an order assigning the Sports Ministry to hold open sports competitions in some sports, both Olympic and Paralympic, with payment of appropriate rewards. “In order to preserve our potential in winter sports, support athletes and give them a chance to fulfill themselves, an order has been signed for five sports – skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, short track and speed skating, in which almost all Russian athletes were not admitted to the Games.

“The competitions for these sports will be held over several weeks right after the Olympic Games.”

Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, who is currently fighting a lifetime ban by IOC, has announced that the prize money offered to the athletes would be similar to that won by Olympic medallists. He has also named the cities of Saint Petersburg and Khanty-Mansiysk as two venues.

Russia was banned by IOC this year following the allegations of state-sponsored doping scheme. The country was accused of sample manipulation when they played hosts for the 2014 edition of the winter games at Sochi.

Russian athletes, who are free from any doping charges, are currently participating as neutrals under the banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia, at Pyeongchang. The Paralympic team will also take part under a neutral flag next month.