The IOC called on sports federations to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in 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 so far gives a small, but still a chance for Russian athletes to compete in 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 one 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 state and under a neutral flag. And not even in the format of the team of Russian Olympians, 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 only bring 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, 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 that lift them up from computers and smartphones and onto the sports field. In the end, the Australian Open is now taking place, where the Russians play under a neutral flag, but that does not prevent any tennis fan in the country from supporting them. And everyone knows that these are representatives of our school, it is easy to sail without a flag.
Two conditions for the participation of Russians in the Olympic Games 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. In addition, you will not find a single person in Russia who would say in all seriousness that athletes have the right to use doping. However, Russia is by no means capable of building a system to combat this unconditional evil accepted throughout the world.
After all, it all started not even with the Sochi Olympics, but earlier, it was not in vain that Russian athletes were deprived of a decent number of prizes from the London Olympics, which were held in 2012, for doping. . That is to say, for almost eleven years, despite the disqualifications, suspensions, deprivation of flag and anthem, scandals on a world 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 of her with her 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 rules of the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA’s requirements could become a weighty argument in favor of Russia’s return to world sport even now. In vain do you think that no one will see that Russian sports are improving and more and more in line with the rules accepted in the world. There is absolutely nothing that is unacceptable to athletes, coaches, and doctors. Also, 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 COI requirements. To be eligible for the Games, athletes must comply with the Olympic Charter, which includes “not opposing the IOC’s peacekeeping mission.” Such a rubber interpretation means that the sports officials themselves do not have any unambiguous selection recipe. Therefore, it would be nice 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 Olympic Games, by analogy with some incomprehensible document that was handed over to our relocators at one of the banks in Georgia to open an account, then this would 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 surely award the selection to international sports federations, and now it is worth studying their experience in solving such problems. But it is very rare, because the Russians under a neutral flag are now only represented in tennis and chess. And if in the first case there were no complaints against the athletes, then FIDE disqualified the 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 award ceremony wearing a plaster cast in the form of the letter Z on his chest. There were no other similar cases.
Yes, and athletes are now trying not to talk about political issues, realizing what this can threaten. Perhaps the general opinion was expressed by the football player Alexander Kokorin, who said: “We cannot influence him. Therefore, it is better to consider that this is not our business. In general, he described the principles of the Olympic Charter on sports outside of politics in the simplest way possible. By the way, those who demand strong statements from athletes should know that Russia is not excluded from the IOC, therefore they cannot violate the very provisions of its main document, namely the Olympic Charter. Those who have already retired are not subject to these obligations, which is why many of them speak out.
In any case, now, for Russian sport to return to the Olympics, two things are needed. Firstly, patience, and secondly, the lobbying efforts of the Ministry of Sports and the ROC. Reading the IOC statement again, I saw it as an invitation to negotiate to at least try to reach a common solution. Yes, here somewhere the requirements may sound insulting, somewhere unreasonable restrictions may seem, but any decision here should be made in the interests not of the talk show heroes, but in the interests of athletes and fans. Sports exist primarily for them.