There was a mysterious incident between Canada and Russia at the Olympics, and no one knows what prompted it

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Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

  • There was reportedly an incident between a Canadian and a Russian coach at the Olympic village cafeteria, but it’s unclear what happened.
  • The Russians reportedly called it “negative treatment” of a coach.
  • Though Russia is officially barred from the Olympics for doping violations, 169 Russian athletes are at the games under the title Olympic Athletes from Russia, leading to some controversy.

In the opening week of the 2018 Winter Olympics, there was reportedly an incident involving the Canadian Olympic delegation and a Russian, though it remains a mystery.

According to Canada’s CBC News, there was an “exchange” in the Olympic village cafeteria between what’s believed to be a member of the Canadian Olympic team and a Russian coach, but the details are sparse.

Russia doesn’t have a formal Olympic team as a result of its doping scandal, but 169 Russian athletes were cleared to compete under a neutral flag as Olympic Athletes from Russia.

CBC’s Heather Hiscox reported that the Russians described the incident as “negative treatment” toward one of their coaches.

Whatever occurred, the incident prompted the Canadian Olympic Committee to send a memo to all other national organizing committees apologizing and saying it didn’t condone any misbehavior.

But even the Canadian delegation seems unclear about what happened, with the COC’s executive director of sport, Eric Myles, suggesting the organization apologized to cover itself.

“This morning we had an opportunity to have a discussion between the two organizations and everything is OK,” Myles said. “We said, ‘Hey, if something happened, we’re sorry.'”

He added: “When we heard about this situation – honestly it’s not clear – I don’t know if it was a coach, athlete, was it really a Canadian?”

There has been tension leading up to the games over the inclusion of the Russian athletes, with some delegations feeling that the International Olympic Committee didn’t do enough to punish Russia for its state-sponsored doping scheme. Dick Pound, a former member of the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency, said the IOC “let down” athletes.

Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, responded by saying he had been personally thanked by athletes for barring Russia.

While the incident doesn’t appear to be particularly serious, it will be worth monitoring tensions between the Russian athletes and other nations.