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Russian Olympic Outfitter Says Will Withhold Brand From Upcoming Games

A cardigan with an inscription reading "Russia" is displayed at a Bosco store in central Moscow.
A cardigan with an inscription reading "Russia" is displayed at a Bosco store in central Moscow.

Russian sports clothier Bosco, the exclusive supplier of outfits for the 2018 Winter Olympics, will ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to use its brand at the games, company founder Mikhail Kusnirovich says.

In interviews with Reuters and TASS on December 20, Kusnirovich said he decided to withhold use of the company's brand after the IOC banned Russia from competing at the games, which take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea from February 9-25.

The IOC banned Russia after saying it had found evidence of "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014, an allegation Moscow denies. The IOC left the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete as neutrals, however.

Kusnirovich said he "disapproves" of the IOC's decision, which he said was disappointing for Russia and its athletes.

"We are doing this to be proud of ourselves, so that we'd be happy," he told Reuters.

"That's why I've taken the decision today not to enable [the brand to be used] and [to] drop the activation of our sponsorship rights until the National Olympic Committee of Russia gets its accreditation back and its rights are restored."

Bosco won the rights to be the exclusive supplier to the IOC last year, succeeding Nike. Kusnirovich said his company had already supplied kits of clothes for 600 to 700 Olympic athletes for the upcoming games.

"We are ready to offer the IOC all possible technical assistance to conceal our logo" from the outfits already supplied, he told TASS.

Bosco was the official supplier to the Russian Olympic team from 2002 until last January, when its contract expired. It also outfitted a number of other teams, including Ukraine, Spain, and Serbia.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

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