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IOC Says Hockey Players Singing Anthem Won't Derail Russian Return

Olympic Athletes from Russia sing the Russia national anthem after receiving their gold medals in men's ice hockey on February 25.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says Russia's return from a doping suspension won't be derailed because its hockey players sang their national anthem at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The Russian men's team defied IOC rules by singing the Russian anthem at their medal ceremony following the February 25 win against Germany.

"We understand that this was overexcitement by the athletes who had just won a gold medal in extraordinary circumstances," the IOC said in a statement e-mailed to the AP news agency.

It was the second gold medal for the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, which officially concluded on February 25.

Russia was banned from the games over what the IOC described as a state-run, systemic doping program at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, but 168 Russians were allowed to compete under the OAR designation and under the Olympic flag. The Olympic hymn played when Russians won gold.

Two Russian athletes -- curler Aleksandr Krushelnitsky and bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeyeva -- failed a doping test at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

On February 25, the IOC said the Russian Olympic ban would be lifted if no more doping violations from Russian athletes in Pyeongchang are found.

The Russian Olympic Committee said it hoped to restore its Olympic credentials in the coming days.

Based on reporting by AP