Russian Olympians Should Hear Their Anthem… If They WIn

Dean Stanley, Opinion Wirter

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Recently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled against the Russian Olympic Committee for years of systematic manipulation that allegedly allowed doping to happen among their athletes.

And what’s the punishment for such a ruling?

The Russian Olympic Team has been banned from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.  

While the Russian team has been suspended, under standard competition requirements otherwise innocent Russian national athletes may be allowed to compete in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. Yet, if one such athlete earns a gold medal, the crowd present at the event and viewers at home will neither see a red, white and blue Russian flag waving nor will anyone hear Russia’s anthem. Instead, what will proudly fly is the Olympic flag. What will be heard is the Olympic anthem.

This ruling has come after months of investigations and evidence discovered of Russian athletes using performance-enhancing drugs at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, Japan in 2014. Anti-doping agencies from 37 different countries called for this blanket ban.  

I agree that Russia should be punished. Authorities should be suspicious. The country probably broke the rules.

But what I believe is this: if a Russian athlete qualifies for the Olympics and doesn’t test positive for illegal or banned drugs, they should compete not just for themselves but also for the honor of their country. If a Russian athlete wins, that person deserves to hear the Russian National Anthem.

 

The Olympics, to me, isn’t only about winning. This international event is about earning the right to compete.

To have athletes work for years trying to represent their country only to be denied that experience – through no fault of his or her own – is wrong. To see the Olympic flag and hear the Olympic anthem would be an embarrassment, a form of humiliation.

If a Russian wins, then the Russian Flag be shown and Russian’s National Anthem should be played. That would be a display of the true spirit of the Olympic Games.

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Russian Olympians Should Hear Their Anthem… If They WIn