Russia names vindicated speed skater as flag-bearer for Beijing opening ceremony
It has been revealed that Olympic champion ice hockey player Vadim Shipachyov and prominent speed skater Olga Fatkulina will carry the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing.
Shipachyov was among Russia’s gold medal-winning squad at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea where Olympic athletes from Russia snatched victory in a nail-biting thriller against Germany.
Fatkulina took silver at the home Games in Sochi eight years ago, but had her medal annulled following a doping scandal that erupted after Grigory Rodchenkov’s controversial claims of state-sponsored cheating.
On 1 February 2018, Fatkulina’s results were restored and her ban lifted after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld her appeal.
Along with an Olympic silver medal, Fatkulina boasts a gold claimed at the 2013 World Single Distance Championships where she triumphed in the women’s 1000m event.
The opening ceremony for the Winter Games takes place on Friday, February 4, and gets underway at 20:00 local time in Beijing.
Russia will not be able to use its name, flag or anthem at the Games after a ruling by the CAS in 2019, which halved the four-year ban initially proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over alleged doping violations.
In Beijing, Russian competitors will represent the Russian Olympic Committee, using the acronym ROC instead of their country’s name.
They will compete under a neutral flag, with Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 being played at medal ceremonies instead of the national anthem.