The Olympic Athletes from Russia triumphed in the no-NHL tournament where they were favored, winning the men’s hockey gold medal at a Winter Olympics where they couldn’t even be called Team Russia, use their colors or celebrate while listening to their anthem.
Kirill Kaprizov scored the game-winner as “Team Olympic Athlete From Russia” came back to beat underdog Germany 4-3 in overtime Sunday in an instant classic that saved a men’s tournament lacking buzz not only in South Korea but back in North America, where the NHL season went on during the games for the first time since 1994.
It’s the first Russian gold medal in hockey since 1992 in Albertville when the team also played under a neutral flag as the Community of Independent States. Russian flags — the team barred from using them by IOC sanctions for state-sponsored doping — hung behind the bench as the team awaited their gold medals.
Constantly saying it doesn’t matter that they had to wear nondescript red and white uniforms that lacked the Russian Coat of Arms, players gave the Russians their second gold and 17th total medal of the Olympics.
Russian goal song “Those Were The Days” blared over the Gangneung Hockey Centre speakers as fans clad in red, white and blue and holding flags celebrated. They later sang the national anthem as the medal ceremony got under way.