Russia is still sending one of the largest groups of athletes to the Winter Olympics despite doping ban

  • Russia's Olympic committee announced they are sending 169 athletes to the Pyeongchang Olympics.
  • Only three countries had at least 169 athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including Russia.
  • This is despite a ban on Russian athletes from the Winter Olympics due to doping violations.
  • The 169 athletes have passed a specialized vetting process that cleared them of being part of the doping program and they will compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."
  • Among the athletes who will compete is figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva who had argued that the ban was unfair to some athletes.


Russia may have been banned from the Winter Olympics but they are still going to have one of the largest groups of athletes at the Games.

The Russia’s Olympic Committee announced on Thursday that it will send 169 athletes to South Korea to compete in the Games.

Only three nations had at least 169 athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics: the United States, Canada, and Russia, which was the host nation in 2014 had 232 athletes competing.

Russia is sending the large contingency despite being banned from the Winter Olympics for manipulating the doping tests at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

7 PHOTOS
Uniforms for Olympic athletes from Russia in 2018
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Uniforms for Olympic athletes from Russia in 2018
A badge is seen on the uniform designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for national athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, during its presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russian short trackers Denis Airapetyan and Emina Malagich wear uniforms designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for national athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, as they pose during its presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russian short trackers Denis Airapetyan and Emina Malagich wear uniforms designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for national athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, as they pose during its presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Mannequins dressed in the outfit designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for Russian athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, are displayed during the uniforms presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
The logo of Russian Olympic team is seen on the uniform designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for national athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, during its presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Mannequins dressed in the outfit designed by ZASPORT, the official clothing supplier for national athletes competing in 2018 Winter Olympics, are displayed during the uniforms presentation in Moscow, Russia January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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Russian athletes who still wanted to compete in the Olympics had to be cleared by a vetting process. The vetting included new evidence that could show if the athletes had previously attempted to "hide and modify" biological data that would have suggested steroid use.

While Russia's group of athletes is still large, it will not include some of their top athletes. Short-track speed skater Viktor Ahn and biathlete Anton Shipulin were both excluded, as well as pairs skater Ksenia Stolbova and ice dancer Ivan Bukin. The latter two both won medals at the recent European championships.

Related: See athletes to watch during the Games: 

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Olympians to watch in 2018
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Olympians to watch in 2018
Figure skater Nathan Chen poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Figure skater Adam Rippon poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. Rippon listens to electronic dance music while he trains. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Ice dancers Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani pose for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee Media Summit in Park City, Utah, U.S. September 25, 2017. The pair listens to Coldplay and Perez Prado while they train. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 25: Snowboarder Shaun White poses for a portrait during the Team USA PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics portraits on April 25, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND,IN - SEPTEMBER 13: Sam McGuffie #2 of the Michigan Wolverines carries the ball during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 13, 2008 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - SEPTEMBER 30: Maame Biney of United States reacts during the ladies 500m quarterfinals heat two during the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating at Bok Hall on September 30, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Christof Koepsel - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 05: Erin Jackson competes in the Ladies 500 meter event during the Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 5, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Jan 1, 2018; Queens, NY, USA; Team USA hockey Olympic player Brian Gionta speaks at a press conference during the second period in the 2018 Winter Classic hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Skiing - Alpine Skiing World Cup - Women's Downhill - Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy - January 19, 2018. Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. celebrates her second place. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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Among the athletes who will compete is figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva. She had been critical of the IOC ban, arguing that it was unfair to clean athletes and noted that she was not even on the national team in 2014.

The athletes will not officially represent Russia at the game, but will wear Russian uniforms and will compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."

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