Three Olympics Bureaucrats Will Decide Russia’s Fate Ahead Of Rio Games

Photo: REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The fate of Russia’s approximately 250 member Olympic team is in the hands of three International Olympic Committee (IOC) panel members with days to go before Rio 2016 gets underway.

Russia is desperately awaiting the IOC decision, which will only come “hours” ahead of the Games. Members of the Russian team who were already deemed ineligible by international bodies that govern their specific sport will not have their cases taken up by the panel ahead of the final IOC decision.

IOC officials said Sunday their deliberating until the 11th hour is an organizational failure that rests on the shoulders of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Russia would have a team made up of almost 400 athletes were it not for its team’s prolific doping, which has reduced the number of potential Olympians to around 250.

Russian Olympic ambitions suffered a major blow in June when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which is in charge of global track and field standards, blacklisted the Russian team for its doping. One of the most damning allegations made by the IAAF is that Russian intelligence sneakily provided their country’s top athletes with drugs when they needed them to get an edge in competitions.

Russian gold medal winner Yelena Isinbayeva said in response to the IAAF ban, “We are blamed for something we have not done. I will not remain silent, I will take measures. I will appeal to the human rights court.” Several sports reporters, particularly in Europe, have been highly critical of IOC President Thomas Bach’s handling of the Russian doping scandal, claiming more should have been done sooner, which has gotten him labeled, “Putin’s Poodle.”

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