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Russian speed skater Semen Elistratov dedicates Winter Olympics medal to compatriots

Elistratov dedicates medal to fellow Russians
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Russian speed skater Semen Elistratov dedicates his Pyeongchang Winter Olympics bronze medal to his compatriots who have been banned from the Games.

Russian speed skater Semen Elistratov has dedicated his country's first medal of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to his compatriots who have been banned from the Games in "such a hard and unfair way".

The 28-year-old, competing as an Olympic Athlete from Russia after the Russian Olympic Committee was banned in December because of state-sponsored doping in Sochi, won bronze on the opening day of the Games in the 1500m short-track speed skating.

Elistratov, who tested positive for meldonium in 2016 but was cleared after WADA issued an amnesty for those who had a low dosage, is one of the 168 Russians in Pyeongchang competing as OARs who were considered clean by an independent panel last month.

"I have difficulties to hold back my tears," Elistratov said after his medal win. "I had said before that any individual medal will be a golden or platinum one for me.

"I am incredibly happy that I did it, in spite of all the circumstances around Russian sport. I dedicate this medal to all guys that have been excluded from these Games in such a hard and unfair way. This medal is for you."

Elistratov's comments are being investigated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because they appear to break the rules over making political statements.


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