The IOC Athletes Commission fully supports the decision of the IOC Session today to maintain the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee and not allow the Russian flag to be included in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games closing ceremony.
These Games have brought the focus of the world back onto the athletes and their incredible performances here in PyeongChang, including the athletes who attended these Games as an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR). We thank these athletes for the contribution to the Games and their positive spirit in challenging circumstances.
However, the legal challenges against IOC decisions from a number of the athletes prior to the Games and their representatives and in particular the fact that two OAR athletes failed anti-doping tests in PyeongChang are hugely disappointing. While we don’t believe these failed tests are part of a wider system, they go against the trust shown in inviting the new generation of Russian athletes to compete here clean and under the Olympic flag. As a result we feel it is the right decision to the maintain the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for tonight’s closing ceremony.
We look forward to the lifting of the suspension following the completion of the remaining anti-doping tests on OAR athletes to ensure all remaining tests are returned clean. Following this we also support an urgent focus on finalising the medal reallocations which are currently outstanding from the disqualifications of certain Russian athletes from Sochi 2014. It is important we receive the needed information from CAS on its decisions prior to PyeongChang 2018 so we can finalise the outstanding medal reallocations and recognise these in appropriate ceremonies.
Various athlete representatives from the IOC Athletes’ Commission have been involved in every step of the review process, including with the IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair on the IOC Executive Board and regular conference calls with athlete representatives from throughout the Olympic Movement. This engagement is a key part of the IOC Athletes’ Commission strategy and has continued in direct contact here in PyeongChang 2018. We look forward to continuing to listen to and reflect the athlete voice in the Olympic Movement.