13:18 GMT +317 October 2019
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    In this Feb. 3, 2017 photo, a man walks by the Olympic rings with a sign of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea

    Over 60% of Russians Back Athletes’ Decision to Compete in Olympics as Neutrals

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of Russians support the decision of the country’s athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea's Pyeongchang under a neutral flag, a fresh poll by VTsIOM pollster showed on Friday.

    On December 11, the Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC) Athletes Commission said it backed the athletes' decision.

    "Sixty-two percent of Russians support the participation of Russian athletes allowed to compete under a neutral flag, while half as many, 33 percent, do not agree with this. One in two Russians (55 percent) believe that the victory of a Russian athlete will be an achievement for Russian athletics as a whole," the statement on the poll results read.

    Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said that the ban on Russian athletes will decrease significantly or partially their chances for achieving major results. In any case, 60 percent of respondents believed that Russian athletes will manage to make the Russian team one of the top three teams in terms of a number of medals won, while 25 percent thought the country will receive the most medals.

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    Forty-five percent of Russians blamed foreign political forces for the situation around the country’s athletes. Meanwhile, 29 percent of respondents put the blame on Russian officials, while 7 percent believed that the athletes themselves should be blamed for the situation.

    The poll was conducted on December 14 and 17 among 1,200 Russians aged 18 and above.

    In early December, the International Olympic Committee suspended the ROC over alleged violations of anti-doping rules and prohibited the Russian team from competing under its national flag in the 2018 Games.


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