Today First Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov and the Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov met with heads of national winter sports federations, and then answered the journalists’ questions.
Pozdnyakov: We worked on the lists of athletes that will be submitted to the IOC for approval. They include all our leaders. We will wait for the final decision of the IOC.
Kolobkov: Our work with the IOC has entered the final stage. Today we have agreed the preliminary lists with the federations and the final ones will come from the IOC in the near future.
— Does it make sense to go to Pyeongchang if almost all our leaders were disqualified?
Kolobkov: At the Olympic meeting, held in December, the representatives of the athletes clearly expressed their official position. But let’s wait for the final decision.
— Is it possible for those, who are not included in the lists of the IOC, appeal against the decision?
Kolobkov: Such decisions have never been taken, we have no precedents. The ROC will send a letter to the international Olympic Committee asking to clarify the criteria used by the IOC to determine the invitation list. After that we will give recommendations, but this is a complex legal issue. Of course, all athletes will receive legal and financial support. Their rights will be protected.
— Do you have understanding of why certain athletes are not invited?
Pozdnyakov: For us the situation is unusual. The decision of the IOC Executive Committee dated 5 December, you all are aware of, contains three clear criteria and one vague definition, saying that the IOC can put forward additional conditions. In this regard, we submit a request to clarify what stands for the additional criteria and how it is applied to our athletes.
— Stanislav Alexeyevich, do you eliminate the possibility of boycotting the Olympic Games?
Pozdnyakov: I think this will not happen. As Pavel Anatolyevich has said already, athletes clearly expressed their position, which was supported by the Olympic Committee.
— Will there be enough time to appeal the final lists?
Pozdnyakov: There is quite enough time until 9 February.
Kolobkov: Yesterday the CAS proceeded to the appeals of our athletes. The hearings are held intensely, with the involvement of witnesses and experts. We certainly hope that the IOC will take into account the results of the hearings when making a decision.
— Do you discuss with IOC the possibility of extending the deadlines for the final approval of the Russian bid?
Kolobkov: We held the talks. I hope the IOC will respect the decision of the CAS. However, let’s not run ahead. The process is very complicated. Yesterday Mr. Rodchenkov gave a speech, and athletes were given a word. The hearings lasted 12 hours. They will be held every day until the end of the week. And the final decision of the CAS on the athletes, that were excluded from participation in the Olympic Games by the Oswald Commission, is expected between 28 and 31 January.
— Whether there was a shock the information that the guest list does not include some of the leading Russian athletes?
Kolobkov: Of course! As well as for the whole country, for all the fans. Indeed, among those, who did not receive an invitation, there are people who have never been seen in the anti-doping rule violation, who were tested repeatedly in recent the years, according to statistics, at least 3-4 times a year, and some even 7-10. The decision is unfounded and extremely disappointing. We are waiting for the IOC to explain the reasons for which the preliminary list does not include athletes who are leaders not only in Russia but also in the world.
Pozdnyakov: In our application we fill all the quotas to which we are entitled and, of course, we hope that our strongest athletes will perform at the Games. In any case, the decision of the IOC is preliminary and we won’t take it. I am sure that we will prove our point. Our athletes were tested for doping dozens, if not hundreds of times, including voluntary tests. This speaks of their purity and integrity.