Yesterday we were informed that today, 1 March 2022, a meeting of the IOC leadership with the Athletes’ Commissions of NOCs will be held to discuss the recommendations on our participation in international competitions, which were previously adopted and made public by the IOC.
First of all, we consider these recommendations to be ethnic discrimination. In this very case it is about Russian and Belarussian athletes. Unfortunately, this is a clear sign that international sport is transforming into an instrument of political games. Especially when you consider how step by step the position of the International Olympic Committee has changed towards the suspension of athletes and sports organizations of our two countries. It is obvious for us that all decisions were made under strong pressure from outside from forces that are far from understanding the principles of integrity of the Olympic movement and non-interference of politics in sport.
Now, some kind of consultations are scheduled, but only after the decisions have been made and even executed. It turns out that the opinion of athletes, our opinion, no longer matters.
In this regard, the ROC Athletes’ Commission unanimously decided not to participate in this meeting in the proposed format.
Obviously, this event will turn into a kind of “open discussion” to please those who call for simply “lynching” Russian athletes. Is this “a chance to renounce Russian citizenship” or an attempt to justify the restrictions and sanctions unjustly imposed on us?
Can any of foreign colleagues take the courage to explain to young and clean athletes why and on what grounds they are deprived of the opportunity to practice their profession and to make happy sports fans around the world? What is their fault? Just because they were born in Russia and/or are citizens of the Russian Federation?
Even more regrettable are actions of some of our fellow athletes from abroad, who loudly call on the general public and all international organizations to simply ban Russians and Belarusians from participating in international competitions. Is this an excuse to eliminate a competitor with the hands of others outside the competition venues, without a fair sporting competition…?
Their energetic stance is fueled by aggressive rhetoric in the mass media and social media. Unfortunately, this is already commonplace. But in this situation, some sports websites went even further, publishing blatant fakes and false information about Russian athletes and their position, thus escalating the situation to justify the recommendations adopted by the IOC.
In this situation the ROC Athletes’ Commission calls upon the international sports authorities to refrain from politicization of sport and discriminatory decisions in relation to Russian athletes and to ensure equal rights for all athletes to participate in competitions.
If violations of the legal rights and interests of Russian athletes continue, we will be ready to provide all possible assistance to any Russian athlete within the existing legal procedures and available legal instruments to observe and implement the principles of legality and justice, and the letter of the Olympic Charter.