Olga Graf, a speed skater approved to compete in the Olympics by the IOC, is the first Russian athlete to refuse to go to the PyeongChang Games, according to Russian media.
Graf said she declined the IOC’s invitation because the IOC did not invite enough Russian female skaters to field a team pursuit squad, in a statement attributed to Graf.
R-Sport also quoted the Russia speed skating federation president confirming Graf’s stance.
Graf’s statement said she was upset that the IOC chose not to invite over half of the national speed skating team, all of whom Graf believes are clean athletes
The team pursuit would have been Graf’s only reasonable shot at a medal in PyeongChang.
Graf, 34, bagged bronze medals in the 3000m and team pursuit in Sochi, earning the first Russian medal of the Games in the former.
She may be best remembered for unzipping the top of her suit after her 3000m, then re-zipping upon realizing she wasn’t wearing anything underneath.
Graf last made an individual World Cup podium nearly two years ago and has a best individual finish this season of 11th.
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