Russia allowed to use ROC acronym, committee's emblem at Olympics after doping sanctions

Cassandra Negley
·3 min read

The Russia team name, flag and national anthem are banned from the next two Olympics as part of doping sanctions levied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in December. It's meant to keep the country from having a formal presence at the games as a result of its years-long doping scandal.

But the competing athletes will still be clearly affiliated with the country after an agreement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) came on Friday. The IOC announced that athletes competing for Russia will be branded as "ROC" — an acronym standing for Russian Olympic Committee — and will compete under the committee's symbol that features the white, blue and red of the national flag.

Russia to compete under country colors

Russia agreed to changes set out in a rubric divided into its name, emblem, flag, anthem and uniform.

All public displays of the name will be "ROC," with "Russian Olympic Committee" disallowed. The name of the national federation will be used at sport-specific world championships in acronym form (RSF for Russian Ski Federation). "RUS" is not allowed since it is the shortform of the country's name.

The Russian flag and any former iteration of it is not allowed in any form. Instead, the emblem of ROC — three flames in white, blue and red over the Olympic rings — will be used. Any wording or extra national symbols are not allowed. This pertains to the flag under which the nation will walk into the opening ceremonies.

The uniform has yet to be revealed, but requirements follow all of the above guidelines. The anthem is also not yet settled. The Russian Olympic Committee will submit a proposed musical score for all ceremonies, the IOC said, and it will need to be approved by the IOC Executive Board.

Russian doping sanctions for 2020, 2022

The Russian Olympic Committee emblem will be used at the next two Olympics without any wording. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
The Russian Olympic Committee emblem will be used at the next two Olympics without any wording. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The CAS ruled in December that Russia's name, flag and anthem are banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled to this summer because of COVID-19, and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Both Paralympics are also impacted as well as the men's World Cup in November of 2022 and sport-specific world championships.

The court is requiring vetting for all Russian athlete and is allowing them to compete under their nation's colors.

The CAS ruling is based on the WADA's finding that doping data was manipulated, but the court cut the sanctions in half. WADA wanted a four-year ban from all world championships in all sports. Dozens of Russian athletes were found to have used performance-enhancing drugs and dodged punishment for it with help from the Russian government.

Some Russian athletes competed at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang under the name "Olympic Athletes from Russia." They were not allowed to wear the flag, colors or logo and had to "refrain from any public form of publicity, activity and communication associated with the national flag, anthem, emblem and symbol."

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