OLYMPIC GAMES

Why is Russia called ROC at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics?

Russia will be called ROC during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and won't be able to use its flag, nor its anthem.

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roc olympics
ALEXANDER NEMENOV AFP

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is the official name of the largest country in the world and ranked 4th in Rio 2016 after winning 56 medals. But at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the country can't use their name, flag, or anthem. Instead, the country will compete under the name "ROC", which is an acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee. This is due to the fact that Russia was sanctioned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after it was accused of running a state-backed doping program.

What symbols, colors, names and anthems can they use?

In 2020, the CAS sanctioned Russia due to several doping violations, banning it from all major sporting events for two years (a reduction from the four years ban established in 2019 by the World Anti-Doping Agency). Russian athletes are allowed to compete in international competitions but they have to do it under a neutral flag.

Due to the verdict, Russia will be called ROC at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. As for the flag, the country will use the ROC symbol consisting of the Olympic flame-colored in white, blue, and red stripes of the national flag above the five Olympic rings.

Presentation of the uniforms of the Russian Olympic team designed for national athletes competing in this year's Tokyo Olympics

When a Russian athlete reaches the podium after winning a gold medal, the Russian anthem won't be played. Instead, music by composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, specifically the Piano Concerto No. 1, will play in medal ceremonies. After the announcement in April 2021 of the use of the mentioned music, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of Russia's Olympic Committee, said in a statement that "as of today, our Olympic team has all the elements of its identity. We have the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee with the colors of our tricolor, our official equipment, easily recognizable for both our compatriots and fans from other countries, without any inscriptions. And now we have a musical accompaniment."

Regarding the uniforms worn by the athletes, the Russian flag is not allowed, but the colors of the flag will be permitted.