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Russia suggests replacing anthem with Tchaikovsky at Olympics

Russia’s Olympic Committee said on Thursday it wanted to play music by composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky at this year’s Tokyo Olympics instead of its national anthem, which is banned from major international sporting events because of doping offences.

Russian athletes are barred from competing at major international events, including the Olympics, under the country’s flag and with their anthem until 2022 following a court ruling late last year. read more

The ban sought to punish Moscow for providing global anti-doping authorities with doctored laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, told reporters it had discussed using a fragment from Tchaikovsky’s music with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“Tchaikovsky is a Russian composer, he has a direct association with our homeland, but his work is part of the world’s musical heritage,” Pozdnyakov said. “We really hope that the IOC will accept our proposal soon.”

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) earlier this month turned down a Russian request to play the patriotic folk song “Katyusha”, which gained prominence during World War Two, instead of its anthem.

Many Russian athletes were sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country deprived of its flag at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Games in southern Russia.

Russia, which has in the past acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping policies, denies running a state-sponsored doping programme.

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