The ROC returns to the Olympic family

Today President of the ROC Alexander Zhukov told the journalists that  the ROC’s rights have been fully reinstated by the IOC.

The press conference devoted to this event was attended by the first Vice-President of the ROC, the head of our delegation at the Olympic Games  in Pyeongchang Stanislav Pozdnyakov and the Honorary President of the ROC Vitaly Smirnov.

As recalled by Alexander Zhukov, the IOC Executive Board convened on February 25. In the meeting, important decisions were made with regard to the reinstatement of the ROC’s status. This corresponded with the final doping test of the Olympic Athletes from Russia at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.

– Today we received the letter from the IOC, which confirmed the remaining doping probe results were negative, Alexander Zhukov noted. – Meanwhile the second paragraph of the decision of the IOC Executive Board of February 25 reads that the suspension of the ROC is considered to be lifted once the Doping Free Sports Unit (DFSU) has confirmed that there are no additional Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) by members of the OAR delegation. This means that the ROC may once again exercise all the rights and carry out all the obligations in accordance with the Olympic Charter, just like any other national Olympic Committee. This is crucial for us.

– Almost three months have passed since December 5. It became one of the most difficult periods in the history of Russian sports and the Olympic movement, the head of ROC continued. – There were many difficult conditions that needed to be fulfilled both before and during the Olympic Games. This was enforced by a special group of IOC. Stanislav Pozdnyakov, head of our sports delegation communicated with it daily.

I would like to thank our athletes who, despite some provocations, managed not only to fulfill all conditions, but also performed well at the Olympics. I also want to thank the fans who, on the one hand, provided tremendous support to our athletes (I think everyone watched the final hockey match, during which Russian flags prevailed in the stands), and on the other, did not cross the line, which could be followed by sanctions.

– Much work has been done by the ROC together with the colleagues from the IOC over the past three months. We feel relief now, said Stanislav Pozdnyakov. – Very much of what has been done will not be made public. But it is important that as a result our athletes, coaches, specialists and other members of the delegation participating in the Games had an opportunity to represent our country, though under the name of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). Difficult issues related to equipment were also resolved.

The members of the delegation demonstrated high professionalism and courage. They managed to win a sizable amount of medals despite all the difficulties, proving that sports stands apart from politics, that it is competition for the sake of good, peace and prosperity.

I would also like to thank the media for their professional coverage of the Olympic Games. The mood of Russian fans and their attitude to the events that have taken place in faraway Korea in recent weeks largely depended on your work.

– I contacted the IOC members every day in PyeongChang, and I can assure you that the majority of them cannot imagine the Olympic movement without Russia. Russia’s and the Soviet Union’s contribution to the development of the Olympic movement cannot be underestimated.

“I think that dignity and determination displayed by the Russian athletes at the Games also affected the IOC decision [to lift ban on ROC]. They realize quite well that without Russia and Russian athletes Olympic movement will be invalid.

At the same time, as Chairman of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission, I would like to note with regret that at the Games in Pyeongchang two doping scandals involving our athletes took place. Once again we provided the grounds for criticism. That can not but disappoint us. Obviously, there still much to be done in order to correct the failures of our anti-doping system.

– How in the light of the ROC’s reinstatement should we react to WADA’s statement that starting from April 1, Russia will not be able to apply for international competitions?

Alexander Zhukov:

– There’s no direct connection. But I can say that a full-fledged anti-doping system in our country is only possible if the RUSADA’s status is reinstated. This will not be easy to achieve, but it is important. And as soon as possible.