Russia’s Olympic queen reveals her thoughts on competing as neutral – RT Sport News

Performing under a neutral flag provides just as much motivation to serve your country, according to Russian Olympic champion gymnast Angelina Melnikova. The Tokyo 2020 gold medalist added that despite the lack of national symbols, it’s obvious everyone knows she’s performing for Russia.

Melnikova, 22, was among the Russian stars at the Tokyo Olympics last year, leaving the Japanese capital with three medals in total.

This included gold in the team event, where Russia ended the longtime dominance of the United States, and individual bronze medals for Melnikova in the all-around and on floor.

In Tokyo, Melnikova and her compatriots were competing under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) rather than that of Russia due to the continued punishment meted out to the country over doping allegations.

The same was true for Russia’s Winter Olympians at the Beijing Games in 2022, although Russian athletes have since faced blanket bans due to the conflict in Ukraine.

According to Melnikova, faced with the choice of competing under a neutral status or not competing at all, it is obvious that it would be preferable.

“We have competed under a neutral flag before. If we are told: either you play under a neutral flag or you don’t participate at all, then why not prove yourself under a neutral flag, especially since everyone will know that I am from Russia? Melnikova told Championship.

“The performance of the Russians under a neutral flag is a sensational story, because they already knew that we were from Russia. Playing under a neutral flag is an even bigger reason to defend your country,” added the gymnastics star.

Melnikova’s run in Tokyo added to the silver medal she won with the Russian team in Rio de Janeiro four years earlier.

The Voronezh star also has a 2021 world all-around title to his name, along with a host of other medals at world and European level.

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But as with her compatriots, Melnikova is currently barred from world events after the international gymnastics federation, the FIG, issued a blanket suspension of Russian and Belarusian competitors following Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

This has led to an uncertain future for the Russian sports star, especially after IOC honorary member Craig Reedie recently claimed that athletes could miss the Paris 2024 Olympics as they would not be allowed to compete in the events. qualification before the Games.

However, figures in Russia warned that it was premature to make such comments.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) said last month that it was fully preparing for the Paris Games and working to protect the interests of its athletes.

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