Previously known as Ahn Hyun-soo, he switched allegiance to Russian Federation after failing to make the South Korean team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and his return in Pyeongchang will be hotly anticipated, regardless of which flag he competes under.
Allegations about Russia's state-sponsored doping system are largely based on claims made by Grigory Rodchenkov, former head of Russia's Anti-Doping Center. Russian officials have threatened to boycott the Pyeongchang Games if its team members are forced to compete under the Olympic flag.
Another Olympics expert from the University of France-Comte, Eric Monnin, said the International Olympic Committee was "playing for its life and legitimacy" during the sordid state-sponsored doping affair, in which the global body also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.
Ovechkin said he's "pretty sure" the Russian hockey team will still compete in the Olympics, though they will have to do so as a neutral team, and he agrees with that decision. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union. Anti-doping agencies from 37 different countries, including the U.S., have called for a total ban on Russian participation in the 2018 Olympics.
"It's just truly disheartening to know that a government and their officials would go to the extreme of putting this much pressure on their athletes to perform, and to get results, and to get medals at the Olympics", she said. By the time the report came out, almost all Russian track and field athletes had been banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
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The press service said that the suspended athletes "are not going to give medals and will sue".
The decision by the IOC's executive board follows last year's McLaren report from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which confirmed that Russia's Olympics program had engaged in an "institutional conspiracy" to beat the system that included using a "mouse hole" through which to swap out athletes' drug-tainted samples for clean ones. In this meeting this afternoon the president of ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) has apologized. That decision means no Russian athletes will compete in their national team colors and their anthem will not play.
President Thomas Bach called it "an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games". "Will Russia be at the Olympics but without a flag?"
Elite figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva, one of Russia's most famous athletes and the reigning world champion, vented the frustrations of many would-be Olympians who say they thought they were doing enough by being "clean".
Given that the allegations about Russia's plan to sabotage the anti-doping system at Sochi 2014 have now been corroborated by two International Olympic Committee commissions and a World Anti-Doping Agency-funded investigation, the Russian athletes' chances of overturning their disqualifications look slim, as do their hopes of competing in Pyeongchang.