Sports

Belarus' MP comments on situation with Russian athletes and 2018 Olympic Games

Belarus' MP comments on situation with Russian athletes and 2018 Olympic Games

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko's lifetime Olympic ban will not affect his World Cup involvement, Russia's Uefa executive committee member Alexei Sorokin told AFP on Thursday (Dec 7).

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the downhill ski competition at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi. To me, that means standing up to the Russian sport system and holding it accountable for its actions - just like athletes are. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet bloc competitors were dogged by doping allegations, and they were periodically proven but usually well after the fact.

A report made by a WADA investigator and presented previous year before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics included the testimony of the informer Grigori Rodchenkov, who worked with the Moscow branch of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA).

Canadian cross-country skier Devon Kershaw was floored by the International Olympic Committee's crackdown on Russian Federation because he had zero faith anything would happen.

Another Olympics expert from the University of France-Comte, Eric Monnin, said the International Olympic Committee was "playing for its life and legitimacy" during the sordid state-sponsored doping affair, in which the global body also banned Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from the Olympics for life.

Headed by former Switzerland president Samuel Schmid, the probe was completed in 17 months. In all, it is estimated that more than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in more than 30 sports have been involved in doping since at least 2011. "I think that the athletes have some liability there that they're not necessarily being held to, which is too bad". By the time athletes arrive in PyeongChang, representatives for the International Olympic Committee said they anticipate that some 20,000 tests will have been done, many of them given to Russian athletes after widespread drug use scandals at previous Games. It is a noble sentiment, but those athletes can not be made whole.

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"Obviously there are potential athletes that are clean but they have the option now to compete under a neutral flag, which I think is a good solution".

The door was left open, however, for Russians to compete as an "Olympic Athlete of Russia" as long as they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.

Russian athletes who can prove their innocence of drug cheating will be permitted to compete in Pyeongchang under the designation of an "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)". We should not lose our positions here, we need to act as citizens of Russia, as Russians, in order to set an example and give experience of behavior in times of crisis.

The IOC's Bach also noted that the decision "should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system led by WADA".

"I'd pretty much lost all faith in the International Olympic Committee". Worldwide sporting associations must learn from this sorry episode, and that includes taking stock not only of Russian behavior but of their own.


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