GENERICO.ruSportBach's swim failed. The head of the IOC very awkwardly explained the suspension of the ROC

Bach's swim failed. The head of the IOC very awkwardly explained the suspension of the ROC

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On Friday, a press conference was held in Mumbai (India), at which the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach summed up the results of two days of work by the organization’s executive committee. Of course, the topic of the removal of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has become one of the main ones.

The IOC Executive Committee made the decision to remove the ROC for an indefinite period of time for accepting the Olympic Councils of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions as members of the organization. Communications Director Mark Adams announced the news Thursday. Bach was not present at the press conference that day, but appeared on Friday. And he said the most interesting thing at the end, when he was asked to comment on the statement of the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova about “making a decision under the influence of Washington.” And also answer the question about OCD’s reaction to removal.

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“If I respond to every comment from Russia, I won’t be able to do anything more,” Bach flashed a slight note of sarcasm at that moment. “And I won’t reach the level of comments that we hear from some people from the government and parliament Russia. As for the second question, the ROC exercised the right to be heard. We, as usually happens in these cases, informed them before the announcement of our decision and received a response in writing.”

Here Adams was about to end the press conference. However, the reporter who asked the question managed to ask the IOC President to reveal to the audience the meaning of the ROC's answer on the situation with the inclusion of the Olympic Councils of four new territories.


“They answered that they followed the laws of Russia, the Duma adopted the law about the inclusion of these four regions into Russia, the ROC had no choice but to follow the law. There were also other arguments, but you asked to reveal the meaning, and that was it,” Bach said.

After these words, Adams thanked the journalists for their questions and began to get up from the table. Bach suddenly interrupted the press secretary, deciding to share “other considerations.”


“They also drew an analogy with Crimea, but such an analogy cannot be drawn, because the IOC never recognized the inclusion of Crimea into Russia,” said the head of the organization. “They asked why you didn’t impose sanctions on us earlier? But we never recognized the affiliation Crimea Russia, in addition, we did not have time when this question arose, and there were no problems with the nationality of the athletes participating in the 2016 Olympic Games.”

Bach responded with this awkward speech to the logical question of why the ROC was not “punished” seven years ago, when the Olympic Councils of Crimea and Sevastopol were accepted into membership. Clumsy because there were problems.

On the eve of the Rio Olympics, a report by Richard McLaren was published investigating the allegations of the former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov. Based on its results, the IOC decided to delegate the right of admission of Russian athletes to the 2016 Games to international federations. Some of them lowered such a serious barrier: for example, of all the athletes, the world association allowed only long jumper Daria Klishina, who lived in the USA, to participate in the Olympics in Rio. Delegations have also been cut in a number of other sports.

However, athletes from Russia competed at the Brazilian Olympics under their own flag. And on the pedestal they listened to their anthem. No sanctions were imposed on the ROC at that time. And if the answer to the question “why” is “there was no time,” then it was, of course, Bach who “floated”, turning to similar baby talk.

Which, however, does not at all negate the fact that the IOC views the current situation from a different angle, and it would be extremely strange to expect a different approach. You shouldn’t lie to yourself here either. The level of sanctions imposed by the West on Russia after the return of Crimea to Russia in 2014 and the measures of influence to which our country is now subjected are incomparable, this is an objective fact. It is logical that the IOC, which exists with money from Western sponsors, acts on the same principle.

And this, unfortunately, means that Russia is not seen as a full member of the Olympic movement. And they won’t see him for a very long time – Bach confirmed this with a statement that there is no deadline for lifting the suspension. You can forget about the principle “Sport is outside politics” – it has turned into a utopia. Which, of course, is an extremely regrettable step towards the final loss of those ideals of Pierre de Coubertin on which the movement was built. If not a statement of this very loss.

Similarly, it can be argued that for many Russian athletes, the desire to perform at the Olympic Games remains the prevailing motivation to engage in professional sports. And it’s hard to blame them for this. For motivation to be in something else, it must be offered and organized. Russia is certainly moving in this direction. Many athletes are looking forward to the BRICS Games and the Friendship Games – with the hope that these will be real sports holidays, where there will be no place for any discrimination based on passport affiliation.

However, the IOC President promised those who continue to live the Olympic dream the opportunity to realize it. Bach repeated the thesis voiced the day before that the suspension of the ROC will not in any way affect the decision on the admission of neutral athletes to the Olympics in Paris, which the IOC reserves the right to make. Moreover, the IOC President allowed direct financial assistance to needy athletes from Russia. Obviously, this was some kind of response to recent statements by the president of the ROC, who noted that the “neutralization” of Russian athletes does not imply their funding from the country.

The pressure the IOC is under was highlighted by several questions asked at the press conference on Friday. There were speakers there who wanted to “ban” not only the ROC, but also all Russian athletes in general, and those who wanted to expel Elena Isinbayeva from the IOC membership simply for her nationality. This is especially noteworthy given what is happening with regard to the two-time Olympic champion in Russia itself. Some are trying to erase her name from history in the same way as the World Athletics Federation did a couple of months ago by not including her in the ranking of the most influential athletes.

“I wouldn’t want to be in Bach’s place now,” – this phrase was said in an interview by Olympic figure skating champion Oleg Vasiliev. And looking at how the IOC President once again made a “swim”, trying to explain the organization’s decisions, it is difficult to disagree with the honored coach of Russia. But the main question is where will Bach and the entire Olympic movement under his leadership end up? The prospects look sad.

The author’s opinion may not coincide with the position of the editors


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