Russia ban adds to South Korea's Winter Olympics woes

  |   World News

The absence of one of the world's major winter sports powers from the competition adds another stress for the hosts, who are already dealing with lackluster ticket sales in the shadow of the ongoing North Korea crisis.

According to state-run broadcaster RT, Irina Avvakumova, a member of the ski jumping team, said she "did not prepare for so many years just to go and compete without representing my country."

Whether a handful of Russian athletes compete as neutrals or none at all, Russians won't be watching the Games at home, with the All-Russia State Broadcasting Company saying it will not carry the Games without a Russian team.

Russia hosted the last Winter Olympics, at Sochi in 2014, a competition which "restored Russia's status as a leading winter sports nation," according to a 2015 IOC report, and many could have been expected to attend next year's event.

Tourism to South Korea has already been negatively impacted by ongoing tensions with North Korea, which have cast a shadow over the Games, with most of the venues situated just 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border and tensions with Pyongyang dominating coverage of the country in a key period for Olympics marketing.

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