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IAAF upholds bans on Russian athletes for Rio Games

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A Russian skating fan held the country’s national flag over the Olympic rings before the start of the men’s 10,000-meter speedskating race at Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in Feb. 2014. The IAAF upheld its ban on Russia’s track and field team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics today in a landmark decision that punishes the world power for systematic doping.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia today. The IAAF upheld its ban on Russia’s track and field team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics today in a landmark decision that punishes the world power for systematic doping.

VIENNA » The IAAF upheld its ban on Russia’s track and field team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics today in a landmark decision that punishes the world power for systematic doping.

The Russian sports ministry said it was notified of the decision by track and field’s world governing body, which ruled that the country had not done enough to earn reinstatement.

The suspension was imposed in November following a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission that alleged state-sponsored cheating, corruption and cover-ups in Russian track and field.

The Russian ministry said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision to ban the entire team from the Rio Games. It appealed to the IOC to “consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on the dreams and the people of Russia.”

The International Olympic Committee has scheduled a summit of sports leaders next Tuesday to address “the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice.”

That meeting could potentially open the door for individual athletes who have never been accused of doping and are deemed to be clean to compete at the games.

“We will look at the next step for us,” IOC vice president John Coates said earlier in Australia. “It’s the IOC who have been testing and re-testing samples. The debate next Tuesday will be on the issue of individual justice and rights.”

The decision to uphold the ban came in a meeting of the IAAF’s ruling council. The IAAF acted on a recommendation by a special task force that has monitored Russia’s reform efforts.

The meeting came two days after a new WADA report cited continuing obstruction and violations of drug-testing in Russia.

“We are extremely disappointed by the IAAF’s decision to uphold the ban on all of our track and field athletes, creating the unprecedented situation of a whole nation’s track and field athletes being banned from the Olympics,” the Russian sports ministry said. “Clean athletes’ dreams are being destroyed because of the reprehensible behavior of other athletes and officials. They have sacrificed years of their lives striving to compete at the Olympics and now that sacrifice looks likely to be wasted.

“We now appeal to the members of the International Olympic Committee to not only consider the impact that our athletes’ exclusion will have on their dreams and the people of Russia, but also that the Olympics themselves will be diminished by their absence,” the statement said. “The games are supposed to be a source of unity, and we hope that they remain as a way of bringing people together.”

The IAAF rejected a last-minute plea by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who claimed the country had clean up its anti-doping system and met all the requirements for readmission.

“We firmly believe that clean athletes should not be punished for the actions of others,” he said in an open letter to IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “Russia is doing everything possible to ensure our athletes are a part of clean and fair Olympic Games. In light of our efforts, I urge you to reconsider the ban on our athletes.”

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva is among the Russian athletes hoping to compete in Rio. She has threatened to go to court on human rights grounds if excluded from the games. Other cases could end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Many sports officials and athlete groups outside Russia called on the IAAF and IOC to take a hard line, citing a loss of faith in the entire drug-testing system. Evidence of state-sponsored doping should be enough to disqualify the whole track team, they contend.

Former WADA president Dick Pound, whose report led to Russia’s suspension, said he saw little reason for the ban to be lifted.

“I don’t think it’s an easy case to make that all should be forgiven,” he told The Associated Press. “A lot of credibility is at stake for the Russians, the IAAF and the IOC. If you’re convinced it’s a state administered system, your athletes have to pay the price for that.”

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  • Probably will benefit by them by not being exposed to possibility of contracting the Zika virus and spreading it back in Russia? Wonder what the statistical odds are of not getting infected for those who will attend. Probably depending on the venue that has the most exposure to the mosquitoes, like where standing water has collected and left untreated?

  • In response to the Olympic ban the Russian president donated 20,000 rolls of toilet paper to the athletes. This goodwill gesture will be helpful in easing the explosive kaka the attending public and athletes will experience. As an added bonus the rolls of toilet paper will have US dollars printed on them.

  • In response to the Olympic ban the Russian president donated 20,000 rolls of toilet paper to the attendees. This goodwill gesture will be helpful in easing the explosive kaka the attending public and athletes will experience. As an added bonus the rolls of toilet paper will have US dollars printed on them.

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