Olympics-Russia slams idea of making athletes condemn war in order to compete


FILE PHOTO: Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

(Reuters) - Russia accused the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday of violating Olympic principles by suggesting that its athletes might be allowed to return to competition provided they did not support the invasion of Ukraine.

Responding to the idea from IOC President Thomas Bach, one sports federation chief said Olympic participation should not require athletes to become traitors.

Russian news agencies quoted Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin as saying: "The main task of the international Olympic movement is to provide athletes with equal access to participation in the Olympic Games, regardless of their views and religions, traditions and citizenship."

Matytsin said Russia would keep talking to the IOC and hoped it would change its stance. "Bach's latest statement goes against Olympic principles," he said.

The head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili, told RIA news agency the Olympics "do not have a principled position that one must be a traitor to the Motherland."

He added: "What do these words of Bach mean - that we must now condemn our people, our president, our country? What is the meaning of his words? What kind of choice is this?"

The IOC issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February to remove from competition athletes from Russia and Belarus, which let Moscow use its territory as a launchpad for the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Bach, explaining the IOC's thinking, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: "It is not about necessarily having Russia back. It's about having athletes with a Russian passport who do not support the war back in competition... This war has not been started by the Russian athletes."

Russia, which traditionally prides itself as an Olympic powerhouse, has been barred from competing under its flag or playing its national anthem at successive Games as punishment for widespread doping violations.

(Reporting by Reuters)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Others

Olympics-With World Cup going well, Qatar determined to host 2036 Games
Windsikher reclaim Raja Muda Cup and Class 1 title
Sailing-America's Cup to take place from Oct. 12 in 2024
Troubled Juventus turns to accountant as Andrea Agnelli era ends
Asia Triathlon Cup concludes on high note
Olympics-Paris 2024 to launch streamlined public ticketing, first draw starts Dec. 1
Aussie Ferris steals show in Asian Triathlon Cup
Timotius grabs the Olympic distance title
Leo Bergere upsets odds to win World Triathlon title
Mixed Martial Arts-Pacheco stuns Harrison to win PFL title

Others Also Read