Putin says no Russian Olympics boycott despite 'political' ban

Postado Dezembro 07, 2017

The IOC plans to have Russia barred from competing as a country in Pyeongchang, and immediately suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and its President, Alexander Zhukov, from the Games.

Zhukov admitted that there were some positives, namely that clean Russian athletes can still compete, albeit under the neutral Olympic Flag, bearing the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR).

Speaking to reporters after a speech to automobile plant workers in Nizhny Novgorod where he announced he would run for a fourth presidential term next year, Putin said the International Olympic Committee decision was politically motivated. He also suggested the move was political, and that Moscow was partly to blame for providing the IOC with a convenient pretext to ban its Olympic team.

As for the terms of the International Olympic Committee decision, Putin said that it would be up to individual Russian athletes to decide if they would participate as neutral competitors. The South Korean-born skating legend, is an eight-time gold medalist who obtained Russian citizenship in 2011, after a public falling out with South Korea's skating union.

"At the same time, I want to once again draw your attention to the fact that today's decision will directly affect the fate of a new generation of Russian athletes, many of whom for the first time have the opportunity to speak at the upcoming Olympic Games".

Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz will chair a three-person panel charged with finalising rules and regulations for the participation of Russian athletes at Pyeongchang 2018, it has been announced.

Other questions likely to be deliberated by Hoevertsz include support staff and personnel allowed to accompany the Russian team and whether Russian spectators will be permitted to take flags into venues.

The CEO of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, also had his place on an Olympic panel overseeing the 2022 Beijing Winter Games withdrawn by the IOC.

The IOC ruled that Russian Federation was guilty of executing a state-backed doping program.

"They are always trying to put us down in everything - our way of life, our culture, our history and now our sport", Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, wrote in a Facebook post.

"This was the name but it referred to athletes from Russian and everybody in the media spoke as if it was athletes from Russia".

However, Pyotr Tolstoy, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the Russian parliament's lower house, has called for a boycott.

The IOC also made a decision to suspend Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov as an IOC member, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, sports minister at the time of the Sochi Games, was also banned from any future participation at the Olympics.

"If they do it, they won't use the state's money, so they will have to find a sponsor", the 67-year-old added, before describing another possible problem posed by the decision: "How does a hockey team play under a neutral flag?" He also noted that it was "very important" that the neutral uniforms that Russian athletes would wear would still have the word "Russia" on them. "You are not going to feel comfortable." he said.

At the Kremlin, Peskov said questions remain about how the ban would be enacted.