The Olympics is well under way and it simply wouldn't be the Games without a display of political fireworks throughout, with the ROC causing a stir at Tokyo 2020.


While the presence of the ROC has been anticipated for some time, the Olympics 2020 opening ceremony sparked mass confusion from fans and viewers around the world.

Many wondered who the ROC athletes are, what the acronym stands for at Olympics 2020 given that Russia are banned from the Games.

The Russians are absent en masse from the Games this time around but some of their athletes are still being given a chance to compete in the world's most prestigious sporting contest. is here to clear up all confusion surrounding the ROC as the Olympics get into full swing.

What does ROC stand for at the Olympics?

ROC stands for Russian Olympic Committee. They boast an entirely fresh flag and emblem to Russia, though they are made up of Russian athletes.

The term 'Russian Olympic Committee' cannot even be used in official Olympic paperwork due to the terms of Russia's expulsion from the 2020 Games.

A statement confirmed: "All public displays of the organisation’s participant name should use the acronym ‘ROC’, not the full name “Russian Olympic Committee".

The word 'Russia' has been outlawed from jerseys, track tops and uniforms throughout the tournament, unless accompanied by the term 'neutral athlete'.

The iconic red, white and blue colours from the Russian flag are indeed allowed to be incorporated into the various kits though.

Are Russia banned from Tokyo?

Russia were officially banned from the Games after the discovery of a state-sponsored doping campaign that was proven to have affected numerous Russian athletes over a prolonged period.

Many Russians were not allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics pending a formal ban which came into force in 2019. This ban meant Russia could not be formally represented at the Olympic Games for four years until 2023.

However, despite Russia's expulsion from the Games, 335 athletes will represent the ROC at the Olympics in Tokyo.

The athletes in competition under the ROC flag have gone through tests to prove they are clean, and that has allowed them to compete despite Russia's lack of official involvement.

Find out what else is on at the Games with our guide to the Olympics on TV today.


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