Alexander Romanovich: ‘a blot on the Olympic landscape’
July 24, 2016
Alexander Romanovich, Vice-Chairman of the State Duma, commented on the decision taken by the International Olympic Committee with regard to the participation of the Russian national team in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil:
On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took the decision not to exclude the Russian national team from the participation in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. At the same time, the IOC passed the right of the Russian sportsmen’s participation in the competitions to the international sports federations. Some additional strict control requirements were also put forward for our athletes who have very little time left to meet with them.
Let’s take a general look at this story: the Olympic movement is the most powerful and positive stimulus for international cooperation. Any outside interference has always done nothing but harm. Both a politically motivated boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and our symmetric response to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles decreased the quality of competitions; moreover, all this turned out to be a real tragedy in the careers of a number of athletes. As for the Los Angeles games, we actually gave away our victory to the Americans...
This time, I am absolutely sure that there was also political interference. Generally speaking, the Olympic movement includes three main active participants: the athletes themselves, the sports bureaucracy represented by the IOC, national committees and federations, and some control and administrative institutions such as WADA and the Sports Arbitrary Court.
In theory, it should be sacramentally important for them to have normal Olympic Games, without any troubles, the Games that would bring joy from the beauty of sport to millions of people. It is actually their real destination.
What I mean is that it is unwise to expect any dirty tricks to be made by the Olympic community against themselves. So, there is someone who implicitly interfered in this game, and moreover, they arranged everything in such a way that the fighting against doping has almost nearly spoiled the Olympic Games.
The impression is that "care about the health" of the Russian Olympic athletes, in particular, demonstrated by the World Anti-Dope Agency was specially designated for the Olympic Games, and it was done with some exterior help...As for Russia, it was not by chance chosen as a victim of the provoked outburst of the international anti-doping activity. But of course, there was a cause for this as we cannot ignore the list of the Russian "doping offenders"; otherwise, it would not have been possible to get Russia involved in it... You shouldn’t be very skillful once you decide to find a ‘whistler’ in some country as the doping problem concerns not only Russia. It would be easy to represent him or her as a fighter for ‘clean’ national sport. Moreover, in our case, this ‘whistler’ ran away overseas instead of demonstrating his fidelity here in Russia...
Thank God, the IOC still decided to keep their hands clean and, in general, took a decision for sport’s sake and in a spirit of the Olympic Charter. But the IOC put forward some terms which also confirm that the Committee was initially under a rather serious pressure and had to leave some space for excuse. It looks like they did not deny Russia’s participation in the Olympic Games in Rio but they passed the right of the final decision to the federations; at the same time, they did not forget about a clean doping biography of each athlete.
One way or another, it seems to me that in the course of time, the Olympic Games in Rio will be mentioned in history as the ones that underwent an attempt of a political interference. We do not know yet if all our sportsmen would be able to reach Rio but still there is no doubt about availability of a political blot on the Olympic landscape.