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Russia wants Tchaikovsky music for anthem at Tokyo Olympics

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A fan waves a flag of Russia before the quarterfinal round of the men’s hockey game between Norway and the team from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)


MOSCOW — Russia wants to use music by 19th-century composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky as its replacement anthem for the Tokyo Olympics, the president of the country’s Olympic committee said Thursday.

Russia’s team name, flag and national anthem were banned for two years from the Olympics and world championships in December.

Russian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said officials had already discussed the Tchaikovsky excerpt with the International Olympic Committee and are waiting for approval.

The same music was used at some speed skating events this year. In most other sports which have held world championship events, the competition organizers’ anthems were used, rather than any Russian music.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport this month blocked Russia’s first choice for the Olympics, the patriotic folk song “Katyusha.” It cited a provision in the December ruling that the team couldn’t use “any anthem linked to Russia.”

However, CAS hasn’t fully clarified what that means in practice — whether it will block any other music by Russian composers, or whether Russian officials should be allowed to choose at all.

Pozdnyakov said that while Tchaikovsky was a Russian, his music should be considered “part of the world’s musical legacy.”

The Russian team in Tokyo will be officially known as “ROC,” and will use the flag of the country’s Olympic committee rather than the national tricolor.

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