Speech by Stanislav Pozdnyakov at the 2019 Olympic meeting
Before starting, I would like to thank all the members of the ROC, the members of the Executive Board and all personnel, as well as members of ROC’s social divisions for the active participation and involvement in our common agenda, making it effective and productive.
The unity of the Russian Olympic movement in solving the most complex tasks and the most serious challenges that we are now facing is a crucial and fundamental principle of our development and moves us closer to achieving the goals set forth.
One of them is to ensure the proper preparation and participation of Russian athletes in all the Olympic competitions and, above all, the Olympic Games.
All of you are well aware of the events that are happening now in connection with the database turned over to WADA from Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory. WADA’s Compliance Review Committee considers that serious manipulations have been carried out with this database and recommends that WADA’s Executive Committee should apply the most serious sanctions in regard to Russia.
The final decision will be made on December 9, and now, after the partial publication of these recommendations, a large-scale controversy has unfolded at all levels both in Russia and the international community.
I can only say that the current situation directly affects the prospects for our athletes’ performance in upcoming Olympic competitions and should be taken into account as part of today’s agenda.
I would like to discuss the important points. And I will do this with the confidence of a person and a leader who deeply cares and is involved in these developments and also by sticking to the real facts.
The Russian Olympic Committee will form a team made up of Russian athletes that will go to Tokyo to defend the country’s honor.
It is important to understand that in accordance with the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Games are not held between countries, as is mistakenly presented in the media, but between athletes who are selected and declared to participate in the Olympic Games by the respective National Olympic Committees.
(Rule 6.1 of the Olympic Charter: The Olympic Games are competitions in individual or team sports among athletes, but not among countries. They unite athletes selected by the relevant NOCs whose applications have been accepted by the IOC. Athletes compete under the technical supervision of the respective international federations).
I would like to emphasize the following in particular: considering the fact that there is not even the slightest suspicion of any illegal actions regarding the Russian Olympic Committee, the attempt to apply measures against our leadership and members of the Executive Board has caused widespread consternation.
The collective punishment of the ROC Executive Board, composed of persons representing the Russian Olympic movement as a whole, is a clear manifestation of unreasonable and aimless bias.
The ROC Executive Board includes leaders of the All-Russian sports federations, representatives of regional Olympic councils and other representatives of the sports movement in Russia. Collective punishment of the leadership of the ROC and national federations in the absence of evidence of individual involvement in regard to any violations is unacceptable, both from a legal and logical viewpoint.
In such a situation, the complete absence of cause-and-effect relations and the clumsy attempts to hold the innocent accountable have triggered discussions within the Olympic movement and amongst international federations, and WADA is well aware of this.
Accordingly, the high probability of Russia appealing any sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) could not have been overlooked by WADA Executive Committee members when considering the recommendations of the Compliance Review Committee and deciding on how to proceed.
Ultimately, the official position of the ROC will be formulated after a decision by the WADA Executive Committee is made.
Before the Games in Pyeongchang, the ROC was temporarily suspended and limited in its powers, however, as of now, we as an organization have not received any complaints from the IOC or WADA.
What is more, it is worth mentioning that a day earlier the International Olympic Committee issued a press release in regard to possible sanctions against Russia, once again emphasizing that the sports movement, the Russian Olympic Committee and its members are beyond any suspicion.
This means that there are no objective obstacles for the All-Russian sports federations (excluding only RusAF) and the vast majority of athletes and specialists for full participation in the 2020 Games.
This year, our Olympic community has conducted extensive, high-quality work in international diplomacy, and also in forming a new anti-doping culture in Russian sport.
This means that with the responsible and conscientious attitude of athletes to their professional duties in the remaining period before the Games, all our clean athletes – that is, those who have not been convicted or suspected of doping – will take part in the Olympic Games as part of our Olympic team. And we will do our best to ensure that our team performs in Tokyo under the Russian flag, as we have objective grounds for that.
We should also focus on the situation with the All-Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF):
– last week’s events not only led to the suspension of the reinstatement procedure to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) – the latest accusations made against RusAF have suspended the mechanism for awarding neutral status;
– By December 12, RusAF colleagues will have to send to World Athletics on-point explanations due to the allegations and propose further steps in this regard;
– On November 23, D.A. Shlyakhtin resigned as head of the federation at an extraordinary meeting of the Presidium; unfortunately, ROC representatives were not invited to this event;
– On November 25, a working group meeting was held on RusAF’s official reinstatement to World Athletics; the working group was formed by the ROC pursuant to the recommendation of the President of the Russian Federation;
– following the results of the meeting, several recommendations were formulated and sent to RusAF that need to be implemented without delay due to the current situation;
– taking into account the seriousness of the situation, it was recommended to take urgent measures to radically reform the structure of the All-Russian Athletics Federation, to completely update the composition of its governing bodies, and to create prompt and proper interaction between athletes and coaches.
Nevertheless, we are continuing the planned and comprehensive preparation for Tokyo 2020 and I will talk about this later today. Once again, I would like to appeal to all the representatives of the All-Russian sports federations and regional leaders present here today. Preparation of athletes for the Games should continue as usual, in compliance with all previously accepted conditions and existing schedules.
By the way, the Winter Youth Olympic Games are set to start within a month in Switzerland. These Games are important as they can evaluate Russian athletes from the main national teams. The Russian Olympic team is due to participate at the Games in Lausanne without any restrictions.
In 2019, the ROC continued to implement Programs to assist Candidates to become Members of the Russian Olympic team and to ensure the participation of the Russian Olympic delegation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In less than a year, the ROC Executive Board considered 67 applications from All-Russian sports federations. As a result, in order to meet the needs of the summer and winter sports federations, a large number of equipment, sports gear and accessories were acquired, necessary to ensure high-quality training.
Total funding under these two Programs amounted to almost 900 million rubles.
The costs associated with providing medical assistance to athletes were also covered. The services of foreign coaches and specialists working in 3 winter sports and 13 summer sports were paid for.
We provide support to the Olympic teams, included for the very first time into the Summer Olympics – rock climbing, 3×3 basketball, skateboarding and surfing.
Within the framework of the ROC’s project “Study of the chronobiological, climate and geographical adaptation of highly-qualified athletes for the Olympic Games”, the fees and participation of our athletes in preliminary competitions in Japan for 15 summer sports were funded. Based on the conducted scientific research, methodological recommendations and plans for the final stage of preparation for the 2020 Games are being developed taking into account the specifics of individual sports.
I would like to thank the federations that participated in this project. The results of such studies will certainly be in demand and useful for all Olympic participants.
This year, four integrated Olympic competitions took place – the 2nd European Games in Minsk, the European Youth Winter Olympic Festival in Sarajevo, the European Youth Summer Olympic Festival in Baku and the 1st ANOC World Beach Games in Doha. The ROC ensured the participation of the Russian Olympic team in these sports events, taking on all the organizational issues related to the preparation and performance of our athletes. The results speak for themselves: in Minsk, Sarajevo, Baku and Doha, Russian Olympians won a total of 194 medals, of which 76 were gold medals.
The Russian Olympic Committee is also actively involved in promoting and developing grassroots (mass) sport.
On January 31, 2019, the ROC Executive Board approved the new Olympic Country Programme for promoting the development of mass sport for the period 2019-2022. The experience of implementing the previous Programme confirmed the usefulness and effectiveness of a systematic approach to solving problems of mass sports development and this was taken into account in the new document.
The main events of the Olympic Country Programme are Winter Sports Day, All-Russian Olympic Day, All-Russian Walking Day, and the Olympic Patrol sports and educational project.
All of them took place in most regions this year in a new format. In particular, the ROC conducted the first competitive selection of projects for organizing the 30th All-Russian Olympic Day. The winners of the competition were 15 regional Olympic councils. All of them received additional funding from the ROC to organize the All-Russian Olympic Day.
The total number of participants in this mass sports festival over the past few years has increased from 500 thousand people to almost 2 million. Other projects are also growing in popularity, such as Winter Sports Day and All-Russian Walking Day. It is obvious that without the active participation and involvement of the regional Olympic Councils and All-Russian sports federations it would have been impossible to achieve such great results.
The goal of the ROC for the next four years will be to form and promote a trend towards a healthy lifestyle, physical education (and sports) and encourage all members of society to maintain an active lifestyle.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize the fact that the Russian Olympic Committee was the first NOC to win the bid to host the 8th TAFISA World Sport for All Games. This is a unique sports event that takes place every four years under the patronage of the IOC and with support from UNESCO, the UN and other international organizations.
It is planned that representatives of at least 100 countries will take part in this global festival of national and traditional sports due to be held in Nizhny Novgorod in 2024!
One of the priority tasks of the ROC is the formation of a sustainable anti-doping culture among young athletes and the development of comprehensive educational projects. To work more effectively in this direction, a new unit was created in the ROC – the Sector for Ensuring Clean Sports. Through the efforts of its personnel and representatives of RUSADA, anti-doping seminars were organized for athletes who took part in the 1st World Beach Games.
Earlier, participants of the 2nd European Games and the two Youth Olympic Festivals in Sarajevo and Baku respectively learned about the specifics of taking doping control tests, as well as their rights and obligations when dealing with WADA specialists and doping control officers.
One of the main anti-doping educational events organized this year by the ROC and RUSADA with support from IOC’s Olympic Solidarity was the international Forum of Young Olympians. For the first time, more than 100 young athletes from 16 NOCs attended the forum.
WADA leaders, in particular, the organization’s Director General, Olivier Niggli, who attended the forum, praised the high level of the event and its importance for future athletes in terms of education and nurturing intolerance towards doping in sports.
Also, the ROC along with the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) and with support from Olympic Solidarity launched a pilot educational project where speed skating, short track, skiing, swimming and athletics coaches attended refresher courses. In its first year, the project covered a total of 118 Russian and foreign specialists.
In 2019, the ROC together with the All-Russian sports federations managed to significantly expand their representation in international sports organizations. Several ROC representatives became members of the governing bodies, committees and commissions of the IOC, EOC, ANOC and TAFISA.
At the General Assembly of the International Federation for Equestrian Sport (FEI) recently held in Moscow, the President of the Russian Equestrian Federation, Marina Sechina, was welcomed as a member of the FEI Board, becoming the first Russian representative elected over the past 16 years.
The powers of the President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Oleg Matytsin were extended for another four years during the FISU General Assembly, the President of the Russian Basketball Federation Andrei Kirilenko will head the FIBA 3×3 Basketball Commission, and the Executive Director of the RBF Natalia Galkina became a member of the FIBA Europe Executive Committee.
And the list does not end here with the Russian Olympic movement being represented on the international arena.
On the sidelines of the Board meeting of the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation, which took place on April 10, 2019, the Russian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation signed an updated cooperation Agreement.
The main objective of the Agreement between the ROC and the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation is to approve transparent conditions for the interaction of athletes and sports enthusiasts in the field of physical education and sport.
The agreement delimits our responsibilities and defines our functions in joint projects.
On an ongoing basis, we are working to assist members of our organization in promoting the interests of Russian athletes and the Olympic movement.
Based on the results of the meeting of the Presidential Council on the Development of Physical Culture and Sport held at the beginning of the year, the Russian President gave instructions (to the relevant government agencies and departments) and recommendations (to the ROC as well).
In order to address and solve the tasks defined by Vladimir Putin, the ROC created two working groups under my leadership:
– working group “On the restoration of the membership of the All-Russian Athletics Federation into World Athletics (formerly IAAF). Responsible secretary – Senior Advisor to the President of the ROC on international issues;
– working group “On the protection of the rights and interests of Russian athletes on the international sports arena”. Responsible secretary – Secretary General of the ROC.
In close cooperation with all parties involved, the top priority measures were fully implemented and a clear sequence of further actions was determined.
I would also like to note that All-Russian Association of Summer Olympic Sports (VALOVS) actively participated in these efforts, headed by V.N. Titov, President of the Russian Gymnastics Federation and Vice President of the ROC.
Unfortunately, the events of recent weeks have set back the results of work that has been conducted for more than six months.
We are now in a serious situation and the only way out is to immediately adopt the most decisive measures. But even so, this will require significant resources and time.
In 2019, the practice of concluding bilateral cooperation agreements with the National Olympic Committees of foreign countries was continued. The new partners of the ROC are the NOCs of Hungary and Tajikistan. The memorandum with NOC Tajikistan was signed on April 17 in the Kremlin in the presence of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
The President of NOC Japan, Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, attended the 5th Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok, during which we signed a cooperation agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee. The document provides for interaction in several key areas of the Olympic agenda and will help ensure the most comfortable conditions for Russian athletes during the Games in Tokyo.
With support from the Roscongress Foundation, as part of the EEF business programme, the session “Olympism and the Asia-Pacific Region: Mutual Influence” was organized with the participation of IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miró and the leaders of the National Olympic Committees of Japan, China and South Korea.
Representatives of the Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games, presidents of international and national sports federations, Olympic champions, and leaders of the relevant sports organizations and the media shared their experience in organizing major sporting events and training athletes.
In my opinion, this was an extremely important and productive event, especially taking into account the fact that the upcoming summer and winter Olympic Games will be held just in the Asia-Pacific region – in Tokyo and Beijing respectively.
A cooperation Agreement on expanding cooperation was also signed in Vladivostok with the Roscongress Foundation which organizes the SPIEF, the EEF and other major business forums.
The ROC pays special attention not to the number of agreements signed, but to the practical implementation of existing documents. For instance, within the framework of partnership agreements with the Czech Olympic Committee and the Slovak Olympic Committee, representatives of these National Olympic Committees are now undergoing educational programmes at RIOU, and there is also the exchange of university lecturers.
As part of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the ROC and the USOPC on sports cooperation, the issue of promptly issuing US visas for Russian athletes and federal officials is currently being successfully resolved.
We traditionally continue to develop effective forms of cooperation with the National Olympic Committees of the former Soviet republics.
An important milestone in strengthening sports ties with the ex-Soviet states was the 21st annual Forum of the National Olympic Committees of the CIS, the Baltic States and Georgia held in September in Kyrgyzstan. Following the results of the meeting, it was proposed to hold joint international judo trainings for members of the National Olympic teams.
Following the trend set by the IOC, the ROC Athletes’ Commission is increasingly involved in solving the most pressing practical issues.
On November 21, at the initiative of the ROC Athletes’ Commission, we organized a meeting between athletes and representatives of the federations in order to promote direct dialogue. The athletes were able to not only learn useful and relevant information, but also received clear answers to their questions.
The main goal of the event is to create a bridge between athletes and leaders in order to better understand each other. Topics on the agenda were as practical as possible and related, in particular, to the provisions of the Olympic Charter and the new anti-doping rules
In the modern Olympic movement, athletes are playing an increasingly important role. And the changes that occur are aimed at protecting their interests.
This was the first meeting of its kind organized at the Russian Olympic Committee. We decided that modern challenges for the Olympic movement and life in general require closer contact with athletes.
Athletes are the major driving force in sport, everything centers around them. Therefore, it follows logically that the country’s main Olympic organization should have direct dialogue with athletes, by creating networks where we can exchange information and receive feedback. All our actions and plans should be in alignment with those of athletes.
The first scheduled meeting was a success. Athletes fully expressed matters of concern and the priorities that exist in their lives. Following the results of the meeting, a decision was taken to hold such meetings annually and we are also considering the possibility of organizing a Russian Athletes Forum in the near future with relevant topics high on the agenda.
We will certainly share our best practices with you and will welcome fresh suggestions and ideas on your part. The next forum will be held after the 2020 Olympic Games, and then we will talk about how athletes can further influence the modern Olympic movement.
In conclusion, I would like to note that only in this way, by combining efforts of sports leaders and athletes, can progress can be made in terms of development. Moreover, all of us together – as a global movement based on core values – share the fundamental Olympic values and promote them in our society.
Thank you for your attention!