What is OAR at the Olympics?

Fast facts about the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

The word OAR has viewers at home scratching their heads every time the team’s name is mentioned during the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. 

So what is it? OAR stands for Olympics Athletes from Russia.

The Russian team was formally banned by the International Olympic Committee for what they ruled was a doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics after intense investigations. However, this doesn’t mean that all Russian athletes are banned. 

The IOC found that some Russian athletes did not violate the doping rules and were formally sent invitations to participate in the 2018 Winter Games. 

As part of a compromise, these athletes were welcome to compete in PyeongChang as long as they were not representing the Russian Olympic team. This meant that the 168 athletes that were approved by the IOC are required to compete as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia”, IOC's punishment to the Russian government for doping. 

In addition to the team’s name, everything pertaining to the Russian team is also banned. Instead of adorning colorful Russian attire, the OAR is forced to compete in neutral uniforms. Hence why the group of athletes marched in grey and white during the parade of nations in the opening ceremony. 

The OAR’s neutrality even goes as far as the national anthem and the flag. If they win an event, the Olympic anthem will play with the five-ring Olympic flag flying high instead of the white, blue and red Russian flag. 

However, even with a sizeable number of Russian athletes banned from competing in PyeongChang, the OAR is still is one of the biggest teams in the 2018 Winter Games and they've already won events.

The IOC's ban certainly hasn't stopped Russian fans from showing up to events adorned with patriotic colors, face paint and patches that say #RussiaInMyHeart. 

The Associated Press and USA Today contributed to this report. 

© 2018 TEGNA MEDIA


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