Russia has alternate plans for athletes who were banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

According to Russian news agency TASS, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko announced that there will be countrywide competitions for Olympic and Paralympic sports that will also offer prizes. "In order to preserve our potential in winter sports, support athletes and give them a chance to fulfill themselves, an order [of the Russian government] was signed that determines five sports: skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, short track and speed skating in which almost all [Russian athletes] were not admitted to the Games."

Mutko claims there is currently bias against his country. "The Olympic Games are underway, and we are cheering for our athletes who are being in rather complicated conditions there. However, athletes who were not admitted to the Olympics on a spurious pretext, because of a vociferous political campaign unleashed against our country, suffered even more."

In December 2017, the International Olympics Committee announced that Russia's Olympic team would be banned from the 2018 Winter Games because of  “systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system." As a result, Team Russia is not being represented and the Russian flag has been removed from the opening ceremony and all games. The loophole in all of this is that Russian athletes who are cleared by IOC technically can compete so long as they're wearing the Olympic team uniform. As it turns out, there are 169 Russian athletes competing in the Winter sporting events under the Olympic flag.