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Tokyo Olympics | No Russian national anthem played at medal ceremonies - here is why

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC), said in a statement that the music used at medal ceremonies for Russians competing as representatives of ROC would be a fragment of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

July 29, 2021 / 12:50 PM IST
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Shooting (Women's 10m Air Rifle Medal Ceremony) Gold medallist Yang Qian of China poses with silver medallist Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and bronze medallist Nina Christen of Switzerland (Image: REUTERS)

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Shooting (Women's 10m Air Rifle Medal Ceremony) Gold medallist Yang Qian of China poses with silver medallist Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and bronze medallist Nina Christen of Switzerland (Image: REUTERS)


Have you been confused about why you hear masterful music instead of the Russian national anthem at medal ceremonies? Well, the music you hear is powerful symphonies composed by the legendary Russian musician Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Russia fell out with the Olympics Committee over a long-running doping concern in 2019 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WAD) banned the country from competing in all international sporting competitions until 2022. As a result, they were disallowed from using the country’s name, flag, or anthem, and had to compete under a new identity. Hence, viewers have not seen the Russian flag above any podium although the national colours are visible on the uniform.

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

As the rules state, all official Olympic paperwork and TV media outlets will have to attribute Russia’s results to “ROC” (the Russian Olympic Committee), without spelling out the name in full. If a Russian athlete wins gold, Russian composer Tchaikovsky will be played for them instead of their national anthem.

The WADA ban was imposed after new revelations concerning Russia’s doping programme had surfaced. However, the ban has not affected Russia’s Olympic team size significantly. World Athletics, the sport's governing body, limited the number of Russians eligible to compete internationally this year to 10.

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Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC), said in a statement that the music used at medal ceremonies for Russians competing as representatives of ROC will be a fragment of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

[Input from agencies]
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first published: Jul 29, 2021 12:50 pm
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