Russian President Vladimir Putin, holds a jersey while posing for a photo the Russian athletes who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (Grigory Dukor/Pool Photo via AP)

Putin to athletes: Ignore doping scandals at Olympics

“I wish you not to think about anything which has recently accompanied your preparation for these Olympics,” said Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the country’s athletes to forget about doping scandals when they compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

As punishment for what it deemed a doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has invited 169 Russians to compete under a neutral flag using the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

“I wish you not to think about anything which has recently accompanied your preparation for these Olympics,” Putin told a gathering of athletes at his presidential residence outside Moscow on Wednesday.

He added that he hopes they “focus on sporting competition, and that you know that following you, as usual, are hundreds of thousands, millions, of fans who love you and hope you win.”

While the athletes wore their IOC-approved “neutral” uniforms without the Russian flag — grey for men, red for women — the event was full of patriotic gestures.

Hockey players Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk stepped up to present Putin with a Russian jersey bearing his name and players’ signatures along with the slogan “Russia in my heart.”

Several athletes wore their “neutral” jackets open to show a Russian-flag shirt underneath.

Russian athletes won’t be allowed to display the flag in Pyeongchang, or to celebrate with Russian flags given by fans. If they win, the Olympic anthem will be played.

Related: Russia’s Olympic punishment stuns Canadian sport community

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

AMBER ALERT: Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Alert cancelled after child located safe and unharmed

Fighting financial fraud against seniors

Alberta Securities Commission hoping to curb seniors being taken for granted

Dual credit benefiting WCPS students

School division working on expanding program into nursing, business studies

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Wildfires have forced more than 9,000 people from homes in northern Alberta

People in other communities remain on evacuation alert and could be told to leave quickly

Pride divided: Edmonton leadership under pressure as LGBTQ community looks to future

Most of the conflict can be traced back to 2016 Toronto Pride when Black Lives Matter staged a protest

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Work on splash park close to completion

Work at the “mercy of the weather”

High Level on alert, as wildfires put more people on the run in northern Alberta

Thousands in High Level were just allowed back home, and now must get ready to leave again

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Most Read