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  • IOC Ready to Rule on Russians - On the Scene


    (ATR) The IOC has established a panel to decide the fate of Russian athletes competing at the Games.

    IOC Executive Board meeting in Rio (Getty Images)
    The IOC last Sunday decided to leave most of the decision-making on Russian participants in Rio to the international federations, laying out strict eligibility criteria for them to reject or approve athletes for Rio.

    But the IOC has the final say. Making up the panel are Ugur Erdener, chair of the IOC’s medical commission, Claudia Bokel, head of the athletes’ commission, and Juan Antonio Samaranch, a vice-president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union.

    Speaking at a media briefing in Rio where the IOC Executive Board concluded its business a day ahead of schedule, communications chief Mark Adams said the IOC wanted to ensure it had the final call on Russians competing at the Rio Games.

    Of the 387 athletes in the Russian NOC’s original delegation, nearly 120 have been banned by IFs in the past week because they were either past dopers or failed to meet the IOC’s strict eligibility rules.

    The IOC panel must now get down to work to review every individual case of the 260-plus Russian athletes cleared by IFs and proposed by CAS to be entered for the Rio Games.

    “This review panel will look at every single athlete to make sure the IOC is happy with every decision taken,” he said.

    Adams said the panel would meet on an ad hoc basis in the next six days before the Games, indicating they would be very busy reviewing the dossiers on each Russian athlete.

    “We are working on a very tight deadline. Very obviously it needs to be concluded before the Games start. It has to be finished by Friday at the very latest,” he said.

    If the IOC rejects a CAS proposal to enter a Russian athlete, no other athletes would take their place in the Games, he added.

    The IOC extinguished any last hopes of Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova competing at the Games.

    The middle-distance runner, who has been previously banned for doping, and her husband Vitaly were key figures in exposing the state-supported doping regime in Russia.

    In a letter, seen by Around the Rings, she appealed again for IOC leniency. But the IOC has stood by its decision to ban any Russian with a doping past from the Rio Olympics.

    Adams said her case was not discussed by the EB. "The final decision has been taken already," he said.

    The IOC spokesman was also asked about the Russian Weightlifting Federation’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the blanket ban from Rio dished out by the International Weightlifting Federation on Friday.

    Adams said he wouldn’t speculate on what might happen if the CAS overturned the IWF’s ban. “If it is reinstated, then we will consider it then,” he said.

    IOC Focuses on Rio Delivery

    Thomas Bach’s top team in Rio made short work of the IOC agenda on Saturday. Reports on the next three Olympics after Rio – PyeongChang, Tokyo and Beijing – were dealt with swiftly.

    Rio 2016 chief Carlos Nuzman (ATR)
    Rio was the main discussion topic. Olympic organizing committee president Carlos Nuzman gave a half-hour presentation to the IOC’s ruling body.

    In comments to reporters after his speech to the IOC, Nuzman said only two questions came from EB members – one about the look of the Games, the other about the Olympic Village. The IOC raised no other concerns about security or the venues, Around the Rings was told.

    The Zika virus was not covered in Nuzman’s presentation, communications chief Mario Andrada telling ATR that it was addressed at the June IOC EB and was not an issue in the winter in Rio.

    According to Adams, the IOC president expressed confidence to Nuzman about the Rio Olympics.

    “He is very upbeat. He thinks it is going to be a great games. He made that very clear,” Adams said, noting that the IOC chief had given a “rousing thank you to the [Rio] team” and said “now we must concentrate on delivery.”

    Ticket sales for the Rio Games are now up to about 80 percent, with opening ceremony seats in high demand, Adams said.

    Federation Recognized

    The International Ski Mountaineering Federation was formally recognized by the IOC on Saturday, two years after it received provisional approval. The move is the next step in the federation’s ambition to become an winter Olympic sport.

    Reported by Mark Bisson in Rio de Janeiro

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