THE stage is set for the most chaotic and discredited Olympic Games in history after the Russian team was cleared on Sunday to compete in Rio, despite its enormous state-sponsored doping racket that has disgraced world sport for years.
The International Olympic Committee rejected calls from dozens of anti-doping agencies and hundreds of clean athletes, instead bowing to pressure from the Russian government and president Vladimir Putin to keep them in the fold.
Delivering a ruling many view as a craven dereliction of duty, they passed the buck to the individual federations for each sport to decide whether Russians should be allowed to take part in Rio next month.
With only 11 days until the Olympics begin, legal experts warned that even if these federations have the appetite to enforce a proper ban on Russia there is not enough time.
It is expected that, with the exception of track and field which has already banned Russian athletes after systematic doping in the sport was revealed last year, the country will field a strong team in Brazil and the damage to the future of the Olympic movement is untold.
The response from British athletes and the anti-doping community to a ruling issued following a three-hour conference call of members of the IOC’s executive board was damning.
“I’m sickened by it, it was a chance for the IOC to really make a stand. You are going to have Russian athletes sitting on the start knowing that people are sitting beside them that aren’t really trusting or believing them.”
Travis Tygart, president of the US Anti-Doping Agency, was dismayed.
“In response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership,” he said.
“The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.
“It is so frustrating that in this incredibly important moment, they would pass the baton to sports federations who may lack the adequate expertise or collective will to appropriately address the situation within the short window prior to the Games. The conflict of interest is glaring.”- DailyMail