On 11 December 2013 International Olympics Committee (IOC) cleared the Indian athletes to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi in Russia. The decision came after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) amended its constitution on 8 December 2013 so as to comply with the IOC ethics rules. The ethics rule of IOC requires a complete ban on tainted persons from its elections.
This saved India from becoming the first country in 40 years to have been expelled from the Olympics. However IOC has not yet cleared whether the Indian athletes can compete under the Indian flag or they would have to compete under the Olympic flag.
IOC president Thomas Bach further added that they would be monitoring the elections to the IOA to be held on 9 February 2014.
Interestingly South Africa became the first body to be thrown out of the Olympics movement in 1970 due to its support for apartheid policies. India was one of the first countries to have opposed South Africa’s apartheid policies on world bodies. Now had IOA not barred tainted and charge sheeted administrators from participating in its elections, it could have been evicted from the Winter Olympics.
The IOC had suspended the Indian body in December 2012 after IOA elected Secretary General Lalit Bhanot who was jailed for 10 months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Mr Bach stated that in case elections are held post the beginning of Sochi games, Indians would compete as independent athletes under the Olympic flag. No Indian flag or symbols would be allowed at the venues or opening ceremony.
About Winter Olympics
• The first Winter Olympics were held in France (Chamonix), in 1924.
• The original sports were Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, ski jumping and speed skating.
• The Games were held every four years from 1924 until 1936, after which the World War-II interrupted the games.
• Until 1992 Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics were held in the same years.
• In 1986 the International Olympics Committee (IOC) decided to place the Summer and Winter Games on individual four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years.
• Sochi became the first Russian town to host Winter Olympics.
• The 2018 Winter Olympics would be held in PyeongChang in South Korea.
• India has been participating in Winter Olympics since 1964, however, it has not won any medal at Winter Olympics till now.
Winter Olympics 2010
• The Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver in Canada. More than 80 countries and 2,500 athletes took part in 86 events.
• Canada with 14 Gold, 7 Silver and 5 Bronze stood first.
• The US with 9 Gold, 15 Silver and 13 Bronze was placed second.
• Norway, with 9 Gold, 8 Silver and 6 Bronze, was placed third.
• South Korea at fourth place had bagged 6 Gold, 6 Silver and 2 Bronze.