(ATR) IAAF President Sebastian Coe took a hard line against Russia at the 2016 Olympics. In 2017 the federation president must take the next steps towards rebuilding the torn relationship with All Russia Athletics Federation resulting from the drugs scandal that shows little promise of ending soon.
Suspended from the IAAF, its athletes barred from Rio, Russia took punishing blows from Coe and his colleagues that may take time to recover. Coe, into his second year as IAAF boss, will try to do all he can to bring Russia back from the abyss. As the only international federation to banish Russian athletes from competition, not just the Olympics, the IAAF will be watched closely for the moves Coe and Co. take.
The 2017 World Championships in London, Coe’s hometown, should be a point of glee for him. Figuring out whether Russia will be there will not be as much fun.
More bad news seems inevitable from the French prosecutors who are pursuing charges against Lamine Diack, Coe’s IAAF predecessor. "Grotesque" is one word Coe has used to describe the accusations that Diack fueled the drugs scandal by extorting blackmail from Russian athletes to keep positive tests from disclosure.
Coe, the Olympic champion in the 1500m, may be the most prominent among IF presidents not to hold a seat on the IOC, especially for what’s considered the number-one Olympic sport.
As a bellwether for driving sport towards younger audiences, the fight against doping and the search for new sponsors, the IAAF should be important to the IOC.
Homepage photo: Getty Images
Written by Ed Hula.