Athletes have been instrumental in the process of establishing a reduced pool of clean Russian athletes to participate in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018

On 24 January, members of the global network of athletes’ representatives joined a conference call to discuss the reduced pool of clean Russian athletes who are being considered for an invitation to take part in PyeongChang 2018 as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR). It was revealed that more than 80 per cent of this pool did not compete at Sochi 2014, and therefore represent a new generation of Russian athletes.

The call included members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) – notably Danka Bartekova, who is part of the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” Implementation Group (OARIG) which established the pool – as well as Dr. Valérie Fourneyron (chair of the Invitation Review Panel and ITA chair), Günter Younger (WADA’s Head of Investigations and Intelligence and member of the Invitation Review Panel) and IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell.

Athletes involved in every step of the process
Athletes have at the heart of the process of establishing the list of OAR participants, which has ensured Russian athletes are treated fairly whilst also restoring faith in the system of testing.

“It’s really important to ensure that every athlete feels that in PyeongChang, the person to their left and the person to their right is clean,” said IOC AC chair Angela Ruggiero.

“Athletes from higher-risk countries or sports should know that they’re going to get targeted, but if you pass these tests and you’re clean, then you’ll have the ability to compete in PyeongChang – and everyone should feel good about those athletes having that opportunity, rather than being punished for something they didn’t partake in.”

Targeted pre-Games testing
Pre-conditions such as further pre-Games tests and reanalysis from stored samples have been required for the athletes in the remaining pool, building upon what has already been the most rigorous pre-testing programme in Olympic history.

Working together with its partners – including WADA, winter International Federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU) – the IOC has delivered the Pre-Games Anti-Doping Task Force in the build-up to PyeongChang 2018, to ensure that it provides a level playing field for all clean athletes.

Between April 2017 and January 2018, more than 14,000 doping tests were undertaken on over 6,000 athletes from 61 countries – which is almost 70 per cent more testing than the same period leading up to Rio 2016. Meanwhile, November and December saw testing on double the number of athletes from Russia than any other country.

The number of athletes expected to participate will be finalised at the Delegation Registration Meeting in PyeongChang on 27 January, when formal invitations will be issued.

For more information visit: https://www.olympic.org/fight-against-doping/olympic-games