Committee announces 242-member 2018 US Winter Olympic team

James Marshall
January 28, 2018

Six-time Olympic gold medallist An - who was born in South Korea but switched his allegiance to Russian Federation in 2011 - has been banned from taking part in next month's Games in South Korea in the aftermath of a state-sponsored doping scandal, along with a string of other athletes. "I have a full right to believe and hope that I have the trust of my supporters, as well as journalists, after my long journey in short-track and with absolute absence of my fault in this situation, when I'm deprived an opportunity to participate in the Olympics". This squad includes 103 returning Olympians, including three five-time Olympians - snowboarder Kelly Clark and cross country skier Kikkan Randall as the first U.S. women in their fifth Winter Games and Shani Davis as the first U.S. speedskater to compete in a fifth Olympics. "I'm still waiting, but if the situation is not resolved we will take action".

On December 5, the IOC disqualified the entire Russian team from the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, taking place February 9-25, as a result of a probe into alleged widespread doping violations by the country's athletes and sporting officials. The list didn't contain Ahn or some other Russian medal contenders, including cross-country skiing world champion Sergei Ustyugov and biathlete Anton Shipulin. The Olympic governing body ruled that "clean" Russian athletes will be able to compete in PyeongChang under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" if their status is confirmed by the IOC-appointed panel.

The U.S. Olympic team for PyeongChang announced Friday is 242 athletes, making it the largest Winter Olympic team for any nation in history. "It is outrageous that there is no concrete reason which explains my exclusion from the Olympics, and furthermore people now view me as an athlete who used doping", the letter read.

"I hope that the International Olympic Committee will ultimately declare their reason for my exclusion, so I will be able to defend my honor and dignity", he added.

Born Ahn Hyun-soo in Seoul, Ahn chose to switch allegiance to Russia following a conflict with his national organization, becoming a Russian citizen in 2011.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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