The situation regarding the admission of Russian athletes to the Olympic Games remains uncertain. And it would be fine if this fact alone caused concern. But the biggest problem is that, even if the IOC has no complaints, it is not entirely clear how athletes will qualify for Paris 2024 if the majority of international Olympic sports federations are not very prepared to see our boys and girls in their competitions.
According to the Russian Minister of Sports, Oleg Matytsin, “a statistical analysis was carried out and a figure of 180 athletes was determined” who could go to Paris. I really want details, how was it carried out? Here are some more of his words: “We understand that team sports will not be able to participate.” Okay, let’s say we’re not talking about team events, but even in individual events there are currently almost two hundred people who could go to the Olympic Games. Hard to believe.
If this analysis did not take into account the selection criteria for the Games in the different disciplines, what good was it? What’s the point of wasting time, effort, and probably money on unnecessary research that brings no practical benefit?
It seems much better to focus on which sports the Russians can realistically meet all the criteria to qualify for the Olympics and then work hard in that direction.
For example, Russian tennis players perform comfortably on both the ATP and WTA circuits. Yes, without a flag, but this had almost no effect on the number of tournaments played, except that Wimbledon rebelled. In cycling we are far from being in the top positions, but even there no one prohibits our athletes from participating in the most prestigious and popular races. Finally, right now at the World Wrestling Championships Russian heroes are winning and collecting medals. And something similar happened before at the world judo and fencing championships.
The head of the ROC, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, also openly disagreed with the minister: “I have slightly different assumptions: I think that at the moment only a few representatives of the sport will have such an opportunity.” Now the most correct thing is to intensify the work towards those few who have a real chance of ending up in Paris.
And the ROC, together with the Ministry of Sports, should not do this behind closed doors, but, on the contrary, actively talk about the actions being taken to help our athletes reach the Olympic Games. Otherwise, the feeling that no one makes anything but populist statements will re-emerge.
Now is not the time to calculate the maximum number of our athletes at the Games under some mythical ideal scenario. We need to look at the situation realistically and use all kinds of resources to help athletes in those sports that are quite loyal to the Russians.
And if we make this work visible to the ordinary fan, he will have even more reasons and desire to unite around those few, but still Russian athletes who, despite all the difficulties, will find themselves in Paris next summer.
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