IOC Chief Arrives in Pyeongchang

The captain of the Canadian women's hockey team during a training session in Calgary

Russian speed skater Olga Graf said on Tuesday she had turned down an International Olympic Committee (IOC) invitation to compete at next month's Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The organizing body of the PyeongChang Olympics has said around 74 percent of tickets for the upcoming Winter Games have been sold thus far.

On Sunday, the IOC approved 169 Russian athletes to participate in 15 sports as "Olympic athletes from Russia".

"Forgive us for not having been able to shield you from this", Putin said, adding that the scandal had contributed to "very hard conditions" for athletes.

Alibaba will send to South Korea between 200 and 300 employees from across all its management teams, Tung said, adding that he wants the "organizers to see how the operations could be made more efficient, effective and secure".

One can only imagine the feelings of a disqualified athlete, who has "trained for half his life for such Games", said Henrich, who now trains in Russian Federation.

"He [Putin] instructed... to ensure that the monetary compensations for results achieved at these [alternative] competitions are equal to those of awards at the Olympics", Peskov told reporters.

"For us certain things are truly odd", he said.

He said he hoped that worldwide sporting organisations would not become annexes of "certain countries", a thinly-veiled jab at the United States.

Hockey players Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk gave Putin a Russian jersey bearing his name and players' signatures along with the slogan "Russia in my heart". However, several of them wore their "neutral" jackets unzipped to reveal a Russian-flag shirt underneath.

Snowborder Alena Zavarzina said the exclusion of other Russians was utterly unfair.

It was also reported that Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director for the IOC, said a "last push is needed" to reach the ticket sales goal.

Alibaba, the cloud-services and e-commerce provider for the Olympics, will take back what it has learned at the February 9 to 25 Pyeongchang Winter Games and develop solutions for the next Games.

After her success at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Graf and her teammates took bronze at three consecutive world championships, in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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