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Flagless Russians anticipate bounce in medal haul at Winter Olympics


FILE PHOTO:Russia’s Kamila Valieva celebrates with gold medal after profitable the ISU European Determine Skating Championships. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Picture

BEIJING—Stripped of their flag and anthem due to doping sanctions, Russian athletes are set to dominate the rostrum on the Beijing Olympics in determine skating and cross-country snowboarding, disciplines that might see them end close to the highest of the medal desk.

With a delegation of 212 athletes, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has predicted it can win about 30 medals and end within the prime three within the medal standings.

That may be a big enchancment on the 17 medals gained on the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

Russian feminine determine skaters, led by 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, might sweep the rostrum as they did ultimately month’s European championships with spectacular quadruple jumps.

Valieva holds the file for the best variety of factors within the quick program, free skate and whole rating.

Alexandra Trusova, 17, is the primary girl to have landed a quadruple Lutz and a quadruple flip in competitors.

The third member of the Russian ladies’s workforce, Anna Scherbakova, is the world champion.

Russian pairs skaters Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov and ice dancers Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, world champions of their respective disciplines, are seen as main contenders for gold.

Within the absence of gamers from North America’s Nationwide Hockey League (NHL), the ROC is in a powerful place to retain the Olympic title. Its roster is stuffed with gamers from the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), one of the best league after the NHL.

Within the mountain cluster of Zhangjiakou, cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov will look to clinch his first Olympic gold medal in his clashes towards Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.

On the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games, Bolshunov gained three silver medals and one bronze. Klaebo took three golds.

COVID THREAT

Alexander Zubkov of Russia carries the national flag as he leads the team during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Four more Russians were disqualified for doping at the Sochi Olympics shortly after IOC President Thomas Bach told critics not to put pressure on his executive board before a key decision next month on the country’s participation at the Pyeongchang Games. Two-time bobsled gold medalist Alexander Zubkov was removed from the 2014 records by the IOC for links to a widespread doping program.

Alexander Zubkov of Russia carries the nationwide flag on the Pyeongchang Video games. AP FILE PHOTO

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the ROC, has warned that its medal aims may very well be derailed by COVID-19.

Some Russian athletes have already come down with the virus, derailing their preparations and jeopardizing their skill to compete on the Video games.

Determine skater Mikhail Kolyada had to get replaced and skeleton racer Nikita Tregubov, silver medallist in Pyeongchang, will even miss the Video games.

Russians competing in Beijing can be beneath the identical restrictions as their compatriots who took half in final yr’s Tokyo Summer time Olympics.

Russia was additionally disadvantaged of its flag on the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games as punishment for state-sponsored doping on the 2014 Sochi Video games. Many Russians had been additionally banned from the 2016 Rio Summer time Video games.

The nation has acknowledged some flaws in its implementation of anti-doping guidelines however denies working a state-sponsored doping program.

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