Russia Says It Needs to Analyze Winter Olympics Ban Before Taking Action

Russia Says It Needs to Analyze Winter Olympics Ban Before Taking Action

Javier Howell
December 8, 2017

"Medvedev's comments came a month after Putin suggested that doping bans against some Russian athletes who competed at the 2014 Sochi Games were an attempt to sow discontent ahead of next year's presidential elections".

"The final decision of course must be made by the Olympic team", he said.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week to ban the Russian team from next year's Winter Olympics had been deliberately taken to sour the pre-election mood.

"As the president said yesterday while expressing his view of the situation surrounding the IOC's decision, the reason is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions".

And it is possible the Russian flag could be used in the closing ceremony, Bach said, as a "signal that there Russia has then accepted and respected the sanction and that then a new beginning is possible... this could be then a really strong message for a new beginning". That doesn't sound very athlete-centred to me. "This is why we say that it is too early for emotional displays, while a lot of work should be done with the International Olympic Committee to clarify all these questions", the Russian presidential spokesman said.

Politicians and athletes earlier reacted with anger and disappointment to the International Olympic Committee decision.

At the same time, Russian athletes deemed "clean" by an global special commission will be allowed to compete under an Olympic flag as "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR). The most important thing is all of the athletes, all of the players have to go and do their best out there.

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"For us, the interests of the athlete have always been the priority", Mutko was cited as saying by the state-run TASS news agency on Wednesday. "I think that the athletes have some liability there that they're not necessarily being held to, which is too bad". That report, released in November 2015, concluded that Russian Federation had cheated and had effectively "sabotaged" the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Some politicians vented anger, however.

When commenting WADA's accusation of an alleged state system to supply drugs to athletes, Medvedev made it clear that his country will not give credit in any way to a clear lie based on arguments that the global institution can not prove.

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, writing on his Telegram social networking page, warned that "not one athlete living in Chechnya will participate under a neutral flag".

Pro-Kremlin media focused on discrediting Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower who gave evidence of a state-controlled doping programme in which he played a central role. But the military drills with the United States and the recent defection of a North Korean soldier to the South have reignited tensions and undercut hopes for a thaw in time for the Olympics.

"Grigory Rodchenkov is the ideal traitor", wrote tabloid daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.

If you don't take a stand against the entire Russian system, you'll be setting the wrong kind of global precedent.