Who are the RPC in the 2021 Paralympics? Meaning explained, which country is it - and what it stands for

While most countries’ codes at the Paralympics are self explanatory, such as GBR for Great Britain, Team RPC has left some viewers puzzled

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The Paralympic Games are officially in full swing, with athletes from all over the world competing to bring home gold, silver and bronze medals across a variety of disciplines.

While you may be familiar with most countries’ codes, such as GBR (Great Britain), FRA (France) and GER (Germany) for example, you might have seen a code that has left you puzzled - RPC.

This is everything you need to know about RPC, from what it stands for to which country it represents.

What is the RPC?

The RPC stands for the Russian Paralympic Committee, which allows Russian athletes to compete during the games, despite Russia’s ban on participating in major sporting events.

The reason that Russian athletes can still compete is because the ban itself only required the withdrawal of the team name and national anthem at sporting events.

Thus, a special RPC emblem has been created and is being used on all RPC uniforms, equipment and all other relevant areas. The emblem will also feature on the flag that will be used at the games in place of that of the Russian Federation.

Additionally, the Russian national anthem, or any other anthem with links to Russia, will not be played at the games - instead, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 will be used instead for all victory ceremonies.

The International Paralympic Committee states: “In accordance with the conditions set out in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) award on 17 December 2020, athletes and team officials will represent the Russian Paralympic Committee and use ‘RPC’ as the acronym, including for the marching order of the opening ceremony.

“All public displays of the organisation’s participant name should use the acronym, not the full name ‘Russian Paralympic Committee’.”

Why was Russia banned?

In 2016, an independent inquiry led by Professor Richard McLaren found that “state-sponsored” and “systematic” doping had taken place across multiple sports. At first, the doping scandal centred around track and field, but soon expanded to include other disciplines as further investigations were carried out.

Russia issued a four year ban from all major international sporting events in 2019 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

This is because WADA had found data and evidence provided by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency as part of the inquiry had been manipulated by Russian authorities with a goal of protecting athletes.

The ruling included barring teams under a Russian flag from competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2020 and 2022 and the football World Cup in 2022, among other global sporting events.

The country would also be blocked from hosting international sporting competitions.

At the time, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the ban was part of “chronic anti-Russian hysteria”.

He said: “It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community. This is impossible to deny.

“But on the other hand the fact that these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points - of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic.”

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