West Gazette

“OAR” – Winter Olympics

Bethany Cutkomp, Editor-In-Chief

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As the 2018 Winter Olympics have been underway, a seemingly new country has been on the scoreboard. Their flag is simply the Olympic rings and their initials are OAR. Who is OAR and where did they come from?

OAR stands for “Olympic Athletes from Russia”. That’s right. This year, Russia is not allowed to compete under their own name. Thus, they have to go by the name Olympic Athletes from Russia.

What is the cause of this? Competing under the name OAR is a form of punishment for Russia. In the previous two Olympics, Russia was caught in a doping scheme. This was where athletes were taking drugs that strengthened them and allowed them to cheat against the other teams.

The punishment comes in a few different forms. First, the Olympic Athletes from Russia are not allowed to wear their country’s colors. This was why in the opening ceremony, OAR marched out in dull grey clothing.

In addition, the team is not allowed to present their flag. Because the flag is banned from the games, OAR is forced to display the simple Olympics logo as their symbol.

Perhaps the most significant punishment, is that any medals the Olympic Athletes from Russia earn will not count for Russia in history. The official tallies will not include Russia, even if medals are won.

Originally, Russia was supposed to be banned from the Olympic games itself, but a strange compromise made by the International Olympic Committee changed things up. Arguments about unfairness in clean athletes not being able to compete arose, and soon, OAR was the result.

Now, screened athletes that have not violated the doping rules are allowed to compete, under a different name and bland colors. Basically, OAR is saying that the members are athletes that just so happen to be from Russia. It is weird and confusing, but that is how the Olympic Athletes of Russia are allowed to compete in Pyeongchang for this year’s 2018 Olympics.

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“OAR” – Winter Olympics