ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — #ROC is a popular hashtag local Twitter users include when posting something about Rochester.

Users first noticed that the hashtag #ROC was automating an Olympic medal emoji once the tweet was posted when it was first introduced at the 2021 summer games in Tokyo.

The #ROC hashtag was being used by the “Russian Olympic Committee” team at the 2021 games and is still is being used for the Beijing 2022 games.

The International Olympic Committee announced that Russian’s team and athletes would be officially branded as “ROC.”Russia’s team name, flag agreed on for next two Olympics 

The team name — an acronym for Russian Olympic Committee — has been agreed on by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has accused the country of running a state-backed doping program.

Russia’s team name, flag and national anthem were banned from the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and this years Winter Games in Beijing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The CAS ruling imposed two years of sanctions on Russian sports for tampering with a testing database in Moscow while the laboratory was under state control.

The agreement of calling the team ROC avoids using the word “neutral,” which WADA insisted must counter-balance any reference to the word “Russia” on uniforms or equipment.

Russian competitors were known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Russian team flag in Tokyo and Beijing is the ROC symbol — an Olympic flame in the white, blue and red stripes of the national flag above the five Olympic rings.

A piece of music to replace the Russian national anthem at medal ceremonies has not yet been agreed on.

“The Russian Olympic Committee will submit a proposed musical score to be played for all ceremonies,” the IOC said.

ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov, who also led the Olympic delegation in 2018, said it had already sent the IOC proposals for the anthem and uniforms.

Russia is aiming to use “Katyusha,” a patriotic Soviet-era folk song strongly identified with the fight against Nazi Germany in World War II.

“We considered it necessary to find and commit to, preferably in written form, a rational balance between completely implementing the sports arbitration ruling and observing the legal rights and interests of our athletes and federations,” Pozdnyakov said.

The International Skating Union approved a piece of music composed by Tchaikovsky for its world championships.

The toughest stand against Russian cheating has been taken by the governing body of track, which requires Russians to compete as Authorized Neutral Athletes at world championships.

This year, Russians have competed under names such as Russian Ski Federation or Russian Luge Federation at world championships.

Russia has also been barred from bidding for or being awarded hosting rights for major sports until December 2022. World championships already given to Russia were supposed to be moved unless it was “legally or practically impossible” to change.


AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Duesseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report.