Putin : Russian sports fans 'sad' about Olympic ban
07 December, 2017, 03:16 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would not prevent its athletes from competing at the Games if they wanted to, damping down calls from some Russians for a boycott of the Games.
Confused and dejected, Russian sports fans expressed their disappointment Tuesday over the International Olympic Committee's decision to ban the country from the 2018 Winter Games.
"I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete", Medvedeva said in a statement issued by Russia's Olympic Committee (and translated into English by Google Translate). "We will not block our Olympians from taking part, if any of them wish to take part as individuals".
"They have been preparing for these competitions for their whole careers, and for them it's very important", he said. That itself was in response to the US -led boycott of the Moscow Olympics four years earlier.
The Schmid report said the International Olympic Committee had "not found any documented, independent and impartial evidence confirming the support or the knowledge of this (anti-doping manipulation) system by the highest State authority" after Richard McLaren's independent report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had said the Russian government and secret service were involved.
"It all looks like an absolutely orchestrated and politically-motivated decision".
Former Switzerland President Samuel Schmid told a news conference that his report confirmed "the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation".
Despite this, Russians who can prove they are clean and that have not been previously sanctioned, will still be allowed to compete as neutral athletes. "It's clearly not worth it".
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"At the same time, I want to once again draw your attention to the fact that today's decision will directly affect the fate of a new generation of Russian athletes, many of whom for the first time have the opportunity to speak at the upcoming Olympic Games".
The deputy prime minister and former sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, was given a lifetime Olympic ban and the ROC was charged 15m Dollars to cover the costs of the investigation.
"(Mutko) took the country into such a nightmare", figure skating coach Tatyana Tarasova told the R-Sport agency, accusing him of not doing enough to protect Russian athletes from accusations of doping. "I'm sorry for the people who have suffered because of his incompetence".
The Russian media is particularly dismissive of Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower responsible for exposing Russia's state-sponsored doping programme at Sochi 2014.
Previously known as Ahn Hyun-soo, he switched allegiance to Russian Federation after failing to make the South Korean team for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and his return in Pyeongchang will be hotly anticipated, regardless of which flag he competes under.
Rodchenkov has been living in hiding in the United States since lifting the lid on the intricate workings of a state-supported doping scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
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