Olympic leaders called for drug-testing of individual Russian and Kenyan athletes across all sports, warning Tuesday that evidence of inadequate doping controls in those countries could lead to more teams being barred from the Rio de Janeiro Games.
At the same time, the international sports officials also opened the door to some Russia track and field athletes competing under their own flag — not as neutral athletes — in Rio.
IOC President Thomas Bach convened a special Olympic summit to follow up on the IAAF’s decision to maintain its ban on Russia’s track team for the games and to take additional steps to ensure a “level playing field” for all athletes in all sports in Rio.
The meeting came four days after the IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, upheld its ban — first imposed in November — on Russian athletes for a “systematic and deeply-rooted culture of doping.”
The summit reiterated that it fully respects the IAAF decision, which Russian officials have condemned as unfair to “innocent athletes.” The Russians confirmed Tuesday they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“We consider it unfair on the vast majority of our athletes who have never doped and have not violated any criteria,” Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov told the meeting. “They will be punished for the sins of others.”
While backing the IAAF decision, the summit also expanded the scope of the doping investigations to deal with all sports in Russia and Kenya, two countries deemed non-compliant with rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The summit, which also cited “substantial allegations” against those countries, put the onus on each international sports federation to make sure their athletes are clean ahead of the Rio Games, which open on Aug. 5.
“The Olympic summit considers the ‘presumption of innocence’ of athletes from these countries being put seriously into question,” the leaders said in a statement. “As a result, every IF should take a decision on the eligibility of such athletes on an individual basis to ensure a level playing field in their sport.”
Story by the Associated Press
Ed Hula discusses Olympic ban on Russia’s doping athletes
For more on the impact of IAAF and IOC’s decision to ban Russia’s track and field athletes from Rio Olympics, CCTV America’s Asieh Namdar was joined from Atlanta by Ed Hula, founder and editor of “Around the Rings.”