The main squad of Russia’s national team is on its way to Rio de Janeiro to take part in this year’s Olympic Games. Russia had originally selected 387 athletes, but more than 100 of them will miss the games after a doping scandal. The International Olympic Committee has imposed strict criteria for athletes to prove they are clean, while individual sporting federations were tasked to clear Russian athletes.
CCTV’s Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow. Follow Julia Lyubova on Twitter @julialyubova
Russia\'s Olympic teams head to Rio, some remain after doping scandalIt has been a nerve-racking few weeks for the Russian athletes, as their participation in the Rio games was in jeopardy after more revelations in the doping scandal. CCTV's Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow.
Team spirit, laughter and hopes of Olympic glory were in the air at a special sendoff ceremony for the Russian team at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.
“We are quite nervous,” Elena Prokofieva, athlete on the Russian National Olympic Swimming Team, said. “We haven’t seen our competitors yet, the Chinese competitors. So we don’t know what program they will show. But we have been working hard and we are ready to show our full potential.”
It has been a nerve-racking few weeks for the Russian athletes, as their participation in the Rio games was in jeopardy after more revelations in the doping scandal.
The team was initially scheduled to leave for Brazil July 22. But the departure was postponed until the IOC’s decision following the McLaren report, which found evidence of state-sponsored doping programs. The IOC decided against a blanket ban and left it up to individual international sporting federations to approve Russian athletes.
“Why is Elena Isinbayeva is deprived of her right to compete,” Vladimir Vasin, vice president of the Russian Olympic Committee, said. “It’s her fifth Olympics, she is finishing her career. She became a mother, but why doesn’t she have a chance? Why is a a guy who became a world champion, Sergey Shubenkov, excluded too? What, for for setting a world record and for being clean from doping? It’s unfair.”
The public in Russia will be relieved that some of the most successful Russian teams, like synchronized swimmers and gymnasts, are clear to compete at the games. However, the fate of some of its athletes is still hanging in the balance as the final list of Russian competitors has still not been approved.