Russian Olympic Chair searching for solution on athlete bans

In an online meeting with IOC president Thomas Bach ROC Chair Pozdnyakov seeks a pathway back for Russian athletes

Russia's Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov,
Russia's Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov,

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, met with IOC officials this week in an effort to resolve the bans currently imposed on Russian athletes.

Thomas Bach, the IOC’s president, held an online meeting with representatives from the IOC Athletes’ Commission along with members of a number of National Olympic Committees.

Among the individuals who represented Russia at the meeting was fencing gold medalist and former Olympic champion, Sofya Velikaya.


Velikaya noted that the IOC recommendations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes directly affected not only the banned competitors but the integrity of sport itself due to absence of world champions.

“The two-time Olympic champion (Sofya Velikaya) reasonably and consistently voiced the position of the Russian sporting community,” read a statement from ROC chief Pozdnyakov.

“She emphasized the fact that the non-admission of athletes to competitions has a negative impact not only on those who are under sanctions, but also on all world sports and on the integrity of the Olympic movement.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Fencing - Women's Individual Sabre - Medal Ceremony - Makuhari Messe Hall B, Chiba, Japan - July 26, 2021. Silver medallist Sofya Velikaya of the Russian Olympic Committee celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Fencing - Women's Individual Sabre - Medal Ceremony - Makuhari Messe Hall B, Chiba, Japan - July 26, 2021. Silver medallist Sofya Velikaya of the Russian Olympic Committee celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“The participants at the meeting from the IOC, in response, assured her that they continue to look for a solution to the problem and maintain the necessary contacts with the Russian side,” added Pozdnyakov.

Last month Bach indicated that the recommendations of the IOC’s executive committee regarding the ban on Russian athletes would not be lifted immediately, describing it as “not the right time” to implement such actions.

Russia has continued to accuse the IOC of allowing politics to take over the Olympic charter’s founding principles. Levying accusations of discrimination by the IOC against its athletes - when compared to similar geopolitical conflicts involving other member nations.

Russia views Bach’s comments regarding ‘safety concerns’ of its athletes’ as an opaque attempt to justify the IOC’s stance.

“Although some foreign colleagues are trying to present this situation as a defense of the Olympic movement, we do not agree with such an assessment,” said Pozdnyakov.

“These really are sanctions. Any restrictions, any violation of freedom and the opportunity to compete in a fair fight are clearly sanctions...

“The Olympic movement is very heterogeneous, but most of the National Olympic Committees, oddly enough, adhere to the principle of maintaining distance from political influences.

“Another thing is that most of the political elite is occupied by representatives of the countries that impose sanctions against Russia at the state level. And this has spread to our athletes,” added Pozdnyakov.

“Our main task is to clearly look at this situation from the point of view of our past, present and future, we need to get together and realize our aims at the Olympics in Paris 2024,” said Pozdnyakov, according to TASS.

“Together we are aiming for a dialogue with international sports organizations, it is happening and will continue to happen.

“I am sure that the realization of the dead end of this [current] path will happen, it is already happening before our eyes, any injustice will dissolve sooner or later,” added the ROC chief.