MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin gained’t boycott the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Putin stated Wednesday his authorities will permit Russians to compete as impartial athletes on the upcoming video games in South Korea.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned the Russian workforce from video games as punishment for doping violations on the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The IOC, nevertheless, plans to ask particular person Russians to compete underneath the Olympic flag.
Learn extra: Russia faces partial ban from Pyeongchang Olympics
“With none doubt we is not going to declare any type of blockade,” Putin stated in televised remarks after launching his re-election marketing campaign at an car manufacturing unit. “We is not going to block our Olympians from participating, if any of them want to participate as people.
“They’ve been getting ready for these competitions for his or her entire careers, and for them it’s essential.”
Putin stated Russia nonetheless didn’t settle for accusations that it ran a state-backed doping system across the Sochi Olympics, and known as the IOC ruling unfair “collective punishment.”
Russian athletes, coaches and politicians have lined as much as condemn the IOC ruling, however most say it’s higher to simply accept it and compete.
Russian IOC member Yelena Isinbayeva, a two-time Olympic gold medallist within the pole vault, got here out towards a boycott.
“I’d like to inform all Russian athletes getting ready for the Olympics in Pyeongchang to not get disenchanted in any case and undoubtedly to not do something silly like a boycott,” Isinbayeva informed state TV. “It’s clearly not value it.”
She stated the IOC alternative of “Olympic Athletes from Russia” because the official designation, as an alternative of a extra impartial tag, determined the difficulty for her.
Some Russian sports activities officers have been criticized for not doing sufficient to stop the ban, with senior lawmakers and sports activities figures calling for them to be fired.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, stated blaming officers was not a precedence and that “defending the pursuits of our athletes” was extra necessary.
Beneath explicit stress is Vitaly Mutko. He was Russia’s sports activities minister throughout the 2014 Sochi Olympics, when the IOC dominated drug-test samples have been tampered with as a part of a doping scheme. Mutko is now a deputy prime minister and accountable for the nation’s preparations for subsequent yr’s soccer World Cup.
He was barred from the Olympics for all times by the IOC on Tuesday.
“(Mutko) took the nation into such a nightmare,” determine skating coach Tatyana Tarasova informed the R-Sport company, accusing him of not doing sufficient to guard Russian athletes from accusations of doping. “I’m sorry for the individuals who have suffered due to his incompetence.”
The Kremlin has vehemently denied operating a state-sponsored doping program, and state media on Wednesday dismissed the ban as a part of a plot to harm Russia.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the overseas affairs committee on the Russian parliament’s higher home, stated the ruling is “clearly a part of the West’s coverage to restrain Russia.” However he additionally insisted that native sports activities officers are in charge and “must bear private duty” for letting it occur.
Vladimir Poletayev, deputy chairman of the committee on procedures on the Federation Council, went even additional.
“All our sports activities officers, together with the Russian Olympic Committee, must be personally accountable for the ban on Russia and must step down,” Poletayev stated in feedback carried by the RIA Novosti information company.
Additionally Wednesday, the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport stated it has registered appeals by 22 Russian athletes towards their disqualifications from the 2014 Sochi Olympics for doping. CAS stated the athletes have requested verdicts earlier than the Pyeongchang Video games open on Feb. 9. The appeals relate to earlier bans towards particular person athletes, not the ruling on the Russian workforce.
The IOC is now engaged on “operational pointers” that may oversee imposing restrictions on Russian participation in Pyeongchang. These embody approving a producer and a design of workforce uniforms, and what Russian symbols, corresponding to nationwide flags, followers will probably be allowed to make use of in Olympic venues.