NHL’s Ovechkin, Kuznetsov support Russian athletes

(Reuters) – Russian Washington Capitals gamers Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will support any of their countrymen who chose compete at the Iciness Olympics despite an IOC decision banning Russia from the Games, they said on Wednesday.

FILE PICTURE: Ice Hockey – 2016 IIHF World Championship – Bronze medal healthy – Russia v UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – Moscow, Russia – 22/5/Sixteen – Alexander Ovechkin of Russia celebrates the victory over the U.S. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

The Global Olympic Committee on Tuesday announced It Might bar the Russian team from February’s Video Games in Pyeongchang because of common doping violations However would permit individual Russian athletes to compete Underneath a impartial flag.

Requested whether or not Russian hockey players must take part in the Games or boycott them, Ovechkin stated the athletes will have to compete.

“I give a boost to them,” Ovechkin informed newshounds on Wednesday.

“I aroused from sleep LATELY and some guys in Russia said we will have to back out. However I never stated that and i improve the hockey group’s resolution,” he said.

“I‘m lovely sure they’re going and that i‘m going to cheer for them.”

Under the IOC ruling, Russian athletes will not put on the u . s . a .’s uniforms, the Russian flag may not be displayed and the Russian nationwide anthem might not be played if the united states’s athletes win gold.

FILE PICTURE: Apr 27, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals Middle Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1/3 duration in Recreation one of the crucial second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Heart. The Penguins received 3-2. Necessary Credit Score: Geoff Burke-U.S.A. THESE DAYS Sports Activities

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would now not stop its athletes from competing at the Games if they wished to, damping down calls from some Russians for a boycott of the Video Games.

Russia has vowed to attraction in opposition to the IOC’s resolution.

Kuznetsov mentioned it Was as much as the Russian hockey group to decide whether they would participate However mentioned It Could be a shame for athletes to pass over a as soon as-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at the Video Games.

“I Might nonetheless go as a result of I Know the Russian lovers can be on the tournament and for those who win the medal, they are going to sing the nationwide anthem for you,” he mentioned.

Neither Kuznetsov nor Ovechkin, who has played up to now three Olympics, will probably be in the Russian team after the NHL announced in April It Will not halt its season to accommodate the Gamed.

Kuznetsov stated he may have in mind if Russian athletes have been reluctant to play Underneath the IOC’s ideas barring the country’s flag and uniform.

“It Might be the same as in the event that they took the U.S. passport from you, proper? You Aren’t going to feel comfortable.” he mentioned.

“So it’s an identical for us, it’s the whole thing.”

Reporting with the aid of Rory Carroll, editing through Ed Osmond

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