Russian athletes attend a meeting on the country's participation at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, at the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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Despite Russia's ban from the upcoming Olympics, officials in the country still expect more than 200 of their athletes to compete at the Pyeongchang Games.Under International Olympic Committee sanctions announced last week, all Russians must compete under the Olympic flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia". Zhukov said Russia still denies operating a doping program at the 2014 Olympics and rejected any suggestion he had made a deal with the IOC to avoid harsher sanctions.The ROC's approval, however, doesn't mean Russia is abandoning legal challenges against the IOC sanctions, Zhukov said.Russia national hockey team captain Ilya Kovalchuk said he didn't mind being known as an Olympic Athlete from Russia, competing without his country's flag.
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