– We once again drew the attention of our colleagues to the egregious, in our opinion, situation when Russian speed skaters and freestylers were deprived of the opportunity to enter the United States to compete at the World Cup stages, within the frames of which Olympic qualifications for the 2022 Winter Games are being held.
Speaking from the position of excluding discrimination of any athletes, the ROC focuses on the need to guarantee equal conditions for all athletes, while observing the principle of equal opportunities for those who are the main actors in global sports processes. If we say that athletes are the heart of the Olympic movement, then it looks very strange that there are attempts to limit or completely deprive certain athletes of the opportunity to participate in the selection for the Games based on reasons that are completely distant from the world of sport. And this is taking into account the fact that the USOPC has continued to provide us with full assistance throughout the entire period. But even the efforts of our colleagues were not enough.
We know that the ROC Athletes’ Commission is actively involved in this case, and the Commission is preparing an official request to colleagues from the IOC Athletes’ Commission based on information from our athletes who could not take part in qualifying competitions.
This case is extremely unpleasant. We believe that it is necessary to resolve this issue now so that no one will have similar problems in the future. The selection system, which, under the control of the IOC, worked normally before Tokyo, this time failed for reasons beyond the control of the athletes or our national federations.
The Olympic Summit is a very convenient platform in terms of comprehensive consideration of such issues and the exchange of views. The task of ensuring access to competitions and equal conditions for participation for all athletes falls within the competence of the relevant international federations and the organizing committees of specific tournaments. Therefore, we once again turned to ISU and FIS with a request for measures that, from our point of view, need to be taken in the context of the competitions taking place in North America.
The Russian Olympic Committee and the ROC Athletes’ Commission, each within its own competence, will continue to interact with colleagues in the IOC and international federations so as to see to it that the organizing countries of the Olympic qualifications properly ensure the admission and free participation of all athletes who qualify. And if for any reason beyond their control, this is impossible, they should provide alternative options for realizing the right to participate in the Olympic selection procedure.
We also brought up the topic of vaccination of underage athletes who are planning to participate in Beijing at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Here, in our opinion, a flexible, but completely transparent approach is needed.
Since our Chinese colleagues and the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee accept all vaccines certified in individual countries, we believe that this should not be a problem. We appreciate their approach and hope that a win-win solution will be found for all athletes in a timely manner.