IOC whittles down pool of 500 athletes submitted by ROC for PyeongChang
The International Olympic Committee has established a pool of 389 ‘clean’ Russian athletes from which it will invite athletes to take part in next month’s winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang with the status of an ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.
The athletes have been whittled down from a pool of 500 that were initially submitted for selection by the Russian Olympic Committee.
The IOC said in a statement: “More than 80 per cent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes.”
The IOC continued: “As of today [Friday], the original pre-registration pool of 500 athletes has already been reduced by 111 by the Panel. For others in the remaining pool of athletes, pre-conditions such as further pre-Games tests and reanalysis from stored samples have been required. Only if these requirements are met can the athletes be considered for invitation. No athlete who has been sanctioned by the Oswald Commission is still in the pool.”
Last month, the IOC ruled that selected ‘clean’ Russian athletes will compete in the games in PyeongChang, but only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
The IOC also suspended the Russian Olympic Committee, excluded Vitaly Mutko, the former Russian sports minister, now deputy prime minister, from all future Olympic Games, and suspended Alexander Zhukov, the Russian Olympic Committee president, as an IOC member.
The IOC said in its statement: “The suspended Russian Olympic Committee, with which a working relationship needed to be established for the implementation of the IOC sanctions, can now start proposing which of the clean athletes can fill the earned quota places by sport, discipline and event.
“Therefore, only a limited number of athletes can be chosen from the current pool. As the qualification process is still ongoing and more preconditions have to be met by some of the athletes, it is still not possible to project how many athletes will participate in PyeongChang in the OAR group.”
Valérie Fourneyron, chair of the independent Invitation Review Panel, formed by the IOC to decide on the composition of the Olympic Athlete from Russia delegation, said: “The Invitation Review Panel took its task very seriously. All our decisions were taken by consensus of the Panel for each individual athlete, all of which were reviewed anonymously. It was not easy to put this list together, but we wanted to be absolutely sure that only clean athletes from Russia can be invited to participate in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
“We have been carefully looking into all the evidence provided by the McLaren and the Schmid Reports, by the Disciplinary Commission of Denis Oswald, information provided by various departments of the World Anti-Doping Agency and intelligence provided by Olympic Winter Sports Federations and the Pre-Games Testing Taskforce. In addition, the Panel decided to add further pre-Games testing requirements.
“Throughout the current winter season, this chosen group of Russian athletes have gone through the most rigorous testing worldwide as a result of the recommended Pre-Games Testing Task Force. On average, they have had more tests since April 2017 than athletes from any other countries. None have been suspended for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) in the past. This means that a number of Russian athletes will not be on the list. Our work was not about numbers, but to ensure that only clean athletes would be on the list.”
Both the Invitation Review Panel and the IOC’s Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group, formed to approve the athletes proposed by the panel, thanked Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower and former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director, for his support of the IOC and his willingness to participate in forthcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport hearings into appeals by excluded Russian athletes.
The IOC said that it has “coordinated with WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency], which wrote to the Russian Sports Minister while the lOC wrote to the Russian Olympic Committee, to make it clear that Mr Rodchenkov deserves protection as a whistleblower, which we understand is being provided by the FBI witness protection programme.”
The IOC added: “As part of the implementation process, an IOC delegation, led by IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miró and Sports Director Kit McConnell, will go to Moscow at the beginning of next week to coordinate the implementation of the decisions of the IOC Executive Board. This will include coordination of other practical and operational questions related to the participation of individual Russian athletes.”