Representatives of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the ROC Athletes’ Commission discussed Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter

Members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the ROC Athletes’ Commission held a conference call today. The ROC Athletes’ Commission was represented by the Chair of the Commission Sofya Velikaya, Member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and the ROC Athletes’ Commission Elena Isinbaeva, Deputy Chair Lada Zadonskaya and Secretary Ekaterina Gorokhova.

Olympic champion Sofia Velikaya thanked the IOC Athletes’ Commission for its active work in protecting the interests of athletes around the world, as well as for the opportunity to discuss a very important topic – Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter – and to express various opinions on this issue.

According to Lada Zadonskaya, the official position of the ROC Athletes’ Commission was announced during a conference call of representatives of the Athletes’ Commission last year in July:

«The ROC Athletes’ Commission fully supports the Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and we are categorically against its weakening or changing. We believe that any concessions can lead to disorder, clash of interests and separation of people, which is contrary to the spirit of the Olympic movement. Nobody forbids us, athletes, to express our opinion, we have a lot of ways to express our position in public, but this should happen outside the Olympic movement. The Olympic Games are an international sports festival that has nothing to do with politics, racism and other social and religious movements. The Olympic Games should remain a sports festival, a place where athletes are able to demonstrate their sporting achievements and successes, and does not become a platform for protest movements, political statements, making money and false popularity».

Two-time Olympic champion Elena Isinbaeva said that the issue of additional opportunities for athletes to express their opinions during the Olympic Games was discussed at the recent meeting of the ROC Athletes’ Commission, which took place on January 14, 2021. The ROC Athletes’ Commission does not see the need for expressing opinions, since huge media attention is given to any statements by athletes during the Olympic Games, and front-page headlines on abstract topics will only distract from the sporting event. Lada Zadonskaya also reported on the work of informing Russian athletes about the IOC’s instruction for Rule 50, the rule itself and about the existing opportunities for athletes to express their opinions. Each member of the ROC Athletes’ Commission, representing different sports, spoke personally with athletes from the national teams in order to find out if they knew Rule 50 and what they thought of it.

The heads of 11 Athletes’ Commissions from the National Sports Federations were informed about the position of the ROC Athletes’ Commission and fully supported it.

Furthermore, an official letter from the ROC Athletes’ Commission signed by Sofya Velikaya was prepared and sent to all 52 National Olympic Sports Federations with a request to assist in informing athletes about the opportunity to express their views on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter by taking part in a survey organized by the IOC on the Athlete365 website. Also, the IOC’s instruction on Rule 50 has been translated into Russian and will be sent to all the National Sports Federations.

The Deputy Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Danka Bartekova thanked the ROC Athletes’ Commission for its productive work and assistance in promoting information about IOC’s survey among Russian athletes. She stressed that the work carried out was an example of how a NOC Athletes’ Commission should function, namely, to be fully involved in all events concerning athletes and actively participate in promoting their position.