The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday that it will not be imposing a blanket ban on Russian athletes in the upcoming Rio Olympics. This comes after reports of state-sponsored doping program in Russia were released by Canadian Law Professor Richard McLaren and months of deliberation among sports heads and organizations.
At this point, the fate of the Russian athletes has been left in the hands of the governing bodies of individual sports like the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and International Associations of Athletics Federation (IAAF). This means that these bodies, along with the 26 other federations, will have to carry out individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, using the approved and qualified testing methods, while respecting the rules of their respective sport.
Presently, the IAAF has already declared that Russian track and field athletes will not compete at the games, a decision which was already upheld last Thursday. The ITF, on the other hand, has confirmed that it will allow Russia’s seven nominated tennis players, who have met the standards of the IOC. The governing body of gymnastics is also mulling the inclusion of Russian athletes, being very vocal with their preference to have Russia in the games.
If the Russian athletes will be allowed to participate in the games, a total of 387 competitors will be representing their country, vying for the gold. Historically, Russia has been one of the strongest countries to compete in the Olympics, consistently being among the top five. In the 2012 London Olympics, they won a total of 82 medals, coming behind only the USA and China. The majority of these medals came from the track and field, wrestling and gymnastics events, of which Russia is a known powerhouse.
With just a few weeks left before the start of the games, sports bodies are a race of their own, to get 387 Russian athletes to Rio.
Photo Courtesy: Jorge_Brasil/ Flickr