IOC President Wishes Successful Winter Olympics in South Korea

Olga Graf, a two-time bronze medalist from the 2014 Sochi Games, targeted a medal in the team pursuit race next month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a meeting with Russian athletes and team members, who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on January 31, 2018.

Graf said that although she disapproved of the IOC's decision to ban Russian Federation from the Olympics and only allow athletes from Russian Federation to compete as neutrals under the Olympic flag, she was still dreaming of winning another medal and had initially planned on competing.

According to the athlete, the anti-Russian reports in the German media are "lavished with praise, in particular from America or from their own colleagues in Germany".

The Americans will be trying to top their 2014 medal haul, which included nine gold medals and 28 overall (though that number will increase to 29 when American Katie Uhlaender's fourth-place skeleton finish is upgraded after Russian Federation forfeited a gold due to doping). The women's team is a largely veteran group that has won the past three world championships and has been training together since August. Graf could have competed in some individual races.

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"I can say that I can clearly see political motives behind the decisions of the International Olympic Committee", said the seasoned endurance athlete, who has numerous marathon and Iron Man events behind him.

Graf, who won two bronze medals in Sochi in the 3,000 metres and in the team event, said she was forced to decline the International Olympic Committee invitation to Pyeongchang because she had hoped to win a medal in the pursuit.

This is due to the Russian athletes being stripped of their medals from those games after the mass doping discovery. That rules out the men's and women's relays, which need four competitors of each gender, though the mixed relay could still be an option.

Russian officials are barred from attending the games, the Russian flag will not be flown or displayed, and the Russian anthem will not be played, per a New York Times story.

It was also reported that Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director for the IOC, said a "last push is needed" to reach the ticket sales goal.

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