The IOC's decision to ban the Russian flag and national anthem from the Olympics in South Korea has definitely caused quite a stir. 

While athletes aren't worried that they'll have to be "clean" to participate, it's the idea that they'll have to participate under an official Olympic team with the Olympic anthem as their theme song. 

Russian hockey superstar Ilya Kovalchuk is expected to be one of those players, playing under the Olympic team for the men's hockey tournament. That is of course if the KHL let's their players go to the Olympics, there's been talk that Vladimir Putin could talk the KHL into barring it's players from playing in the Olympics out of spite. 

Kovalchuk sounded off after the ban. 

"Going to the Olympics is a must. Refusal means surrender," said Kovalchuk accord to RT.com .

"We understand perfectly that the IOC decision is simply politics, and who it is directed against. [We] more or less knew there would be such a decision. But if the athletes go [to Pyeongchang] it will bring the country together. All clean athletes must go. We are athletes, we have nothing to do with politics. For us, it will be an important tournament, it won’t be different from any other,” he added.

“Patriotism and love for our country is in our hearts. There’s no need to shout about it, or even to carry the flag on our chest. God willing, we will manage to perform well and we will sing the anthem.”

He also feels that it could bring the country together even stronger "We feel disappointed, because politics has overcome sport. It’s always been said that sport is no part of politics,” said Kovalchuk.


Source: RT.com
Image Credit: Getty Images