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

Westshore Rebels game postponed due to poor air quality conditions

Games expected to continue the following week

BC Farmers’ Market Trail a one-stop virtual guide to the goods

New website assembles, profiles 145+ farmers’ markets throughout B.C.

Saanich police investigating sexual assault in broad daylight

Social media lit up with accusations incident took place at Regina Park tent city

Swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read