Graf refuses to compete at Games
MOSCOW – Agence France-Presse
Russian speed skater Olga Graf announced on Jan. 30 she is refusing to compete in the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics, because a ban on her country meant there wouldn’t be enough athletes to form a team for the pursuit race.
Following a ban over alleged state-sponsored doping in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week decided to allow only 169 of Russia’s athletes to take part in the Games under a neutral flag.
The move has excluded many high-profile athletes from the 2018 Winter Olympics. As only four of Russia’s speed skaters have been allowed to compete -- including Graf -- Russia will be unable to form pursuit teams.
“I’m happy that the IOC commission considered me to be a clean athlete,” Graf wrote on Instagram. “But it’s deplorable that more than the half of the country’s team, including my pursuit race teammates, have not been approved to compete.
“That makes it impossible for Russia’s athletes to participate in the event.”