July 9 - Ivan Skobrev (pictured), who carried Russia's flag at the Closing Ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics, has denied claims that he wants to compete for the United States at the next Games in Sochi 2014.

It had been claimed that the 27-year-old speed skater, who won silver and bronze medals in Vancouver, had said that "if I have the chance to be American and let my family be Americans I will switch right away".

Skobrev, whose parents and brother live in the US, was quoting as saying: "The next Olympic Games are in Sochi, Russia, so of course I want a gold.

"Of course I would love to get the gold and be a real hero.

"And of course I will try to be American before as well."

But Skobrev has angrily hit out at the claims.

He said: "Publications about my wish to compete for the US at the 2014 Sochi Olympics are untrue.

"It is complete nonsense

"Only several months ago I was Russia's flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Vancouver

"How can I compete for the US  team after that?"

The Russian Skating Union's President, Alexei Kravtsov, claimed that he was surprised by the reports.

He said: I contacted Ivan, and the told me that he will compete for Russia and has no doubts about that."

Skobrev, who won Russia's first medal at Vancouver Olympics, was awarded The Order of Merit for the Motherland in March.