On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee rejected a late appeal from Russia to be reinstated prior to the close of the PyeongChang Games after being banned for a doping scandal in Sochi.
No flag at the Closing Ceremony. No anthem. No medals for Russia in the record book.
But that didn’t mean the Russians couldn’t sing. And after the Olympic Athletes from Russia topped Germany in a thrilling gold medal hockey game, that’s exactly what they did.
Above is video of the medal ceremony for team OAR Sunday. In case you’re not aware, OAR is the designation for Russian athletes that were approved to compete independently in PyeongChang.
As has been protocol for the entire Olympics, instead of the Russian flag being displayed and Russian national anthem being played, the Olympic flag and Olympic anthem are in their stead. We just haven’t seen much of it because this is the only gold medal for team OAR other than Alina Zagitova’s in women’s figure skating (though if you’re only going to win two golds, those are the medals to win).
The musical portion of the ceremony begins at the 2:53 mark of the video with the Olympic flag being hoisted between the flags of silver medalist Germany and bronze medalist Canada. That music is, indeed, the Olympic anthem.
When the camera pans to the Russian hockey players at the 3:10 mark, those are definitely not the words to the Olympic anthem they are singing, but the Russian national anthem. And they’re doing so in an arena filled with fans hoisting Russian flags.
While the Russians were surely disappointed with the IOC’s decision to bar Russian symbols from Sunday’s Closing Ceremony, their hockey team gave them an opportunity to display some defiance and national pride earlier in the day.