Thursday 8 December 2016

Why I'm relieved the IOC didn't impose a blanket ban on the Russian athletes

Mary Dejevsky

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

There will be many who will express disappointment, even anger, with the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Some already have. Their argument for a total ban rests not just on the scale of Russia's past violations, not just on the risk of unfair competition continuing at Rio, but on the direct involvement of Russian state institutions, as confirmed in the inqury by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

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Personally, I am relieved for a host of reasons, but here are a few.

First, the procession of earlier decisions - plus the mobilisation of other athletes calling for a ban in advance of the IOC ruling - pushed Russia into a political corner and allowed it to play the victim. Ordinary Russian sports fans needed no encouragement from any national leaders, or from their state media, to lash out with accusations that it was all about politics. They felt that the sins of the past were being projected on to the future in a way that gave them no way out and no appeal.

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