IOC overturns complete ban on Russia for Rio2016 Games
Olympics officials said on Sunday that all Russian athletes are considered tainted by the country’s state-run doping scheme and that they are not allowed to compete in the coming Rio Games unless they are able to convince individual sports federations that they are innocent.
The International Olympic Committee said in a statement, issued after a meeting of its executive board, that “all Russian athletes seeking entry to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 are considered to be affected by a system subverting and manipulating the anti-doping system.”
The decision will be interpreted different ways. Antidoping officials and athletes wanted Olympics officials to completely bar the entire Russian delegation. Anything short of that, they said, would be too soft in the face of widespread doping.
But the decision also tarnishes the reputations and performances of all Russian Olympic athletes and establishes a steep climb for any of them who hope to compete in the Rio Games.
“This may not please everybody on either side,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. “But still the result today is one which is respecting the rules of justice.”
The announcement delivered a historic rebuke and served as an emphatic affirmation that Russia had carried out an elaborate, state-run doping scheme. Russian officials have denied accusations of state-sponsored doping, even after evidence was presented recently by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The IOC said it would only accept entries from the Russian Olympic Committee if athletes could meet the following criteria:
• Athletes must provide evidence to full satisfaction of their IF, which should consider reliable international tests and the specifics of the sport and rules
• IFs seek from WADA the names and national federations implicated in the McLaren report and that nobody implicated in it be accepted to the Games
• The ROC may not enter any athletes who have ever been sanctioned for doping
The decision creates further chaos with less than two weeks until the Rio Games open on Aug. 5. While some federations are likely equipped for such a review, others may face difficulty in that process.
Bach said some had begun the review process already, although it’s unclear if they had the criteria the IOC provided on Sunday.
The IOC waited to act until after it received a decision from CAS, which upheld the IAAF’s extension of a ban of Russia that had been in place since November when an independent commission report revealed widespread doping in Russian athletics.
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