Russia’s flag banned but national colors on Olympic uniforms

Russia Olympic Uniforms
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MOSCOW — The Russian flag is barred from the Olympics in a doping dispute. You wouldn’t know it to look at the Russian uniforms.

The International Olympic Committee told The Associated Press that Russian athletes in Tokyo will be allowed to wear a range of uniforms in national colors unveiled by models in a runway show in Moscow on Wednesday.

That unveiling show included polo shirts and jackets with white shoulders above thick bands of blue and red — the colors of the Russian flag, in the same order.

“You don’t really need to have a strong imagination. In those uniforms that you saw, our national flag can be seen really really obviously,” Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said.

The logo on the uniforms is that of the ROC, not the national coat of arms. That’s because of a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling from December which barred Russia’s name, flag, anthem and other national symbols in a package of sanctions over what it deemed Russia’s failure to turn over accurate data from the Moscow drug-testing laboratory. The team in Tokyo will be officially known not as “Russia,” but as “ROC”, for Russian Olympic Committee.

“The ROC uniform designs for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are in line with the established and published implementation guidelines,” the IOC told the AP in an e-mailed statement. “The uniforms have been approved on this basis.”

Russian athletes had similar limits on their uniforms and symbols at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, when the team was known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” The rules for those Olympics specified no more than two of the three colors from the Russian flag could be used together on uniforms, a restriction which no longer applies.

For one new Russian Olympian, it all takes some getting used to.

“I remain an athlete from Russia,” climbing athlete Yulia Kaplina said. Her sport makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. “Of course it’s a shame that we don’t have our national flag or emblem (on the uniforms), but they’re in my heart.”

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Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

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Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

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Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

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British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

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