Will we have the Olympics?

The IOC called on sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in a neutral status, subject to a number of conditions. There are two conditions – one concerns doping, the second, let’s say, ongoing global events.

And here the situation is such that the main thing is not even the content of the IOC statement, but the very fact of its appearance. Perhaps it was the first of those that gives so far a small, but still a chance for Russian athletes to compete at the Olympic Games. Even the ROC called it “one step forward and two steps back.” If this is translated from bureaucratic language, then, apparently, the very fact of the appearance of the statement is a step forward, and two steps back are the conditions for the return of Russian athletes to world sports.

It should be noted right away that we are talking about the return of Russian athletes in a neutral status and under a neutral flag. And not even in the format of the Russian Olympic Athletes team, as at the Pyeongchang Games, but as an individual. These are the realities of the modern world and it is not known how long the situation will not change. Therefore, all the loud statements of various figures on the talk show that you don’t have to go anywhere without a flag bring nothing but harm. Athletes who have lost competitive competition through no fault of their own need support, not completely meaningless sets of slogans. Therefore, the task of the Ministry of Sports, the ROC and, in general, of everyone involved in this, should be to ensure that Russian athletes participate in international competitions. They went to this all their lives, limiting themselves in everything. Yes, and we know that these are our athletes. For our children, they can become idols who will lift them from computers and smartphones and lead them to the sports ground. In the end, the Australian Open is now taking place, where the Russians play under a neutral flag, but this does not stop any tennis fan in the country from rooting for them. And the whole world knows that these are representatives of our school, it is easy to navigate without a flag.

Two conditions for the participation of Russians in the Olympics should be analyzed in detail.

Let’s start with the fact that athletes must comply with the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the difficult events in the world. Moreover, you will not find a single person in Russia who will say in all seriousness that athletes have the right to use doping. Nevertheless, Russia is in no way able to build a system of struggle against this unconditional evil accepted throughout the world.

After all, it all started not even with the Olympics in Sochi, but earlier, it was not for nothing that Russian athletes were deprived of a decent number of awards from the Olympic Games in London, which were held in 2012, for doping. That is, for nearly eleven years, despite disqualifications, suspensions, deprivation of the flag and anthem, scandals on a global scale, we cannot close this issue. No external factors interfere with this. For example, in the case of Kamila Valieva, who forced her to tell the whole world about the version with grandfather’s medicines, and then make a decision that will definitely be appealed as incompetent?

But the fulfillment of the requirements for RUSADA, for the anti-doping laboratory, for compliance with the norms of the World Anti-Doping Code, the requirements WADA could become a weighty argument in favor of bringing Russia back into world sport even now. In vain do you think that no one will see that Russian sports are getting better and more and more in line with the rules accepted in the world. There is absolutely nothing that would be unacceptable for athletes, coaches and doctors. Moreover, one can ask a stupid question – why do we now need a system that does not exclude the use of doping? For the Spartakiad of the peoples of Russia or friendly matches with the Belarusian national team? It’s time to use the pause to put things in order.

It is more difficult with the second part of the IOC requirements. To be eligible for the Games, athletes must abide by the Olympic Charter, including “not to oppose the peacekeeping mission of the IOC”. Such a rubber interpretation means that the sports officials themselves do not have any unambiguous selection recipe. Therefore, it would be good to enter into negotiations with them and try to achieve the most favorable conditions for Russian athletes.

If, of course, a certain paper is formulated, with political principles, which athletes will have to sign in order to participate in the Olympics, by analogy with some incomprehensible document that was given to our relocators in one of the Georgian banks to open an account, then this will also violate the Olympic Charter, and the principle of equality. But the IOC is still not a Georgian bank, although even a financial institution prudently decided to quickly stop this crazy practice.

In general, the IOC will certainly give the selection to international sports federations, and now it is worth studying their experience in resolving such issues. But it is very scarce, because the Russians under a neutral flag are now represented only in tennis and chess. And if in the first case there were no complaints about the athletes at all, then FIDE disqualified grandmasters Sergey Karyakin and Sergey Shipov for written statements in support of the special operation. Immediately after the start of the special operation, the gymnastics federation disqualified and fined Ivan Kulyak, who came to the awards ceremony with a band-aid in the form of a letter Z on the chest. There were no other such cases.

Yes, and athletes are now trying not to speak out on political topics, realizing what this can threaten. Perhaps the general opinion was expressed by football player Alexander Kokorin, who said: “We cannot influence him. Therefore, it is better to consider that this is not our business. By and large, he outlined the principles of the Olympic Charter about sports outside of politics as simply as possible. By the way, those who demand some loud statements from athletes should know that Russia is not excluded from the IOC, so they cannot violate the very provisions of their main document, namely the Olympic Charter. Those who have already retired are not bound by these obligations, so many of them speak out.

In any case, now, in order to return Russian sports to the Olympics, two things are needed. Firstly, patience, and, secondly, the lobbying efforts of the Ministry of Sports and the ROC. Rereading the IOC statement again, I saw it as an invitation for negotiations in order to at least try to reach a common solution. Yes, here somewhere the requirements may sound insulting, somewhere they may look like unreasonable restrictions, but any decisions here should be made in the interests of not the heroes of the talk show, but in the interests of athletes and fans. Sports exist primarily for them.

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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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