Russian athletes make personal appeals to compete in Olympics


Russian Olympic doping scandal

The sports governing body IAAF says it has received more than 80 applications from Russian athletes seeking eligibility to compete in the Rio Olympic Games. Competitors from the country have been banned from international events since January, following a series of revelations of systematic doping in Russia.

Julia Lyubova reported from Moscow.

Yulia Stepanova became the first Russian athlete to be given the green light by the IAAF to compete internationally as an independent neutral competitor. The former drug cheat’s revelations helped expose the massive doping problem in Russia. She is now cleared to compete in Amsterdam next week.

The IAAF is reviewing the rest of the applications for eligibility from dozens of athletes. Earlier this week, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said 67 Russian athletes have filed legal suits to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying they should not be punished along with drugs cheats. This includes two-time Golden medalist, Elena Isinbayeva. 

“We have to fight for our right to take part in the Olympic Games in Rio, to file appeals. I will have a right to compete in case my appeal is satisfied in the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Isinbayeva said.

The IAAF says track and field athletes who have fulfilled exceptional criteria, including repeated drugs testing outside of Russia, can take part in the Rio Games under a neutral flag. However, the International Olympic Committee insists any Russian athlete cleared to compete in the games would do so under the country’s flag.

“As the doping scandal unfolds, the Russian men’s rowing team has been disqualified from the Rio Olympics, after one of its members failed a doping test in May. Russian swimmers and weightlifters also face a ban. The once-sporting powerhouse appears to be crumbling just weeks before the Games, and it remains to be seen how many Russian sportspeople make it there.

Mike Bako on the Russian athletic doping scandal

For more on the Russian doping scandal, CCTV’s Susan Roberts was joined by Mike Bako, Sports Managing Editor of the website