“I cannot imagine an Olympics without Russia” — chief of Italian Olympic Committee


Silvia Vittoria MISSOTTI
In Opinione Pubblica, July 21, 2016
Translated from Italian by Tom Winter

Original headline: Rio 2016, CAS in Lausanne rejects the appeal of Russian athletes. What’s behind the ugly pastiche of excluding Russia from the Olympics?

It is increasingly clear that political reasons are hiding behind the sporting reasons.

On July 18 WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency), under the guidance of Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren lawyer, accused Russia of large-scale violations of anti-doping rules. McLaren accused not only the sports and medical officials, but also the secret service (FSB) and the Minister of the Russian Sport Vitaly Mutko. 

However, at his press conference, McLaren did not bring evidence and facts, claiming that the Commission had not had time to gather sufficient evidence. Russian sports lawyers have noted that no one in Russia had been interviewed during the preparation of the McLaren report, and therefore considered the report of McLaren biased and not objective.

Famous Russian athletes have made sharp statements against McLaren and WADA . The President of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Olympic champion Mikhail Mamiashvili, has characterized the WADA report as a “paramoid step” towards dividing the Olympic movement.

 Women’s pole vault champion Elena Isinbayeva goes further: “It’s a violation of human rights, I will appeal to the Court of Human Rights.”

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According to Moscow, it is an issue of active US involvement in the persecution of the Russian Olympic team. Mutko said the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) puts pressure on the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The IOC, however, decided to take its time and not pursue Russia by the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Yet for many of the Russian athletes, the Committee will be guided by the decision of CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) in Lausanne on July 21, and as for the rest, it has announced that it will examine the merits of the WADA report i.e. on a case-by-case basis. UPDATE: the CAS has confirmed the IAAF’s exclusion of Russian athletes from the Olympics.

In Moscow the view is circulating that the suspension of Russia from the Olympic Games will diminish the tradition, and will begin the disintegration of the Olympic movement.

Meanwhile, ANSA [Italian press agency] quotes Giovanni Malago, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee: “In the collective imagination, the Olympic Games are an event for everyone. Honestly, I can not imagine an Olympics without Russia.” He also added that he was not in a position to make decisions regarding the participation of the teams in the Olympics.

The scandal of doping, according to Russia, is the implementation of yet another episode to discredit and slander the country, and it is no surprise after NATO’s announcement in Warsaw, that classified Russia as a global danger.

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