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Olympic bosses know events are ‘degraded’ by Russian absence – minister

Dmitry Chernyshenko said the IOC operates under pressure from outside forces

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is well aware that competitions are significantly diminished without Russian athletes, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko. He claimed that the IOC is under pressure from outside forces to act against Russia, including from the US government.

“Unfortunately, the IOC is not an independent organization. As we can see, they are subject to direct influence from the side of the US State Department and act absolutely on their orders,” Chernyshenko said in an appearance on Russian television on Wednesday, as quoted by TASS.

Chernyshenko pointed to a declaration at an IOC summit earlier in December, when the organization said it would explore a pathway back to competition for Russian and Belarusian athletes, but under strictly neutral status.  

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“[The IOC] adopted a resolution that the necessary measures should be taken for the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, but without a flag and an anthem,” said Chernyshenko.

“They understand that their product is very much degraded without our participation.”

The IOC initially recommended on February 28 that sports federations should ban Russian and Belarusian athletes wherever possible because of the conflict in Ukraine. 

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The decision has led sportsmen and women from the two countries to miss dozens of major events, including the likes of the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.

“It is clear that they robbed themselves because no international competition can be considered complete without the participation of Russia,” said Chernyshenko.

“Any world or Olympic champion, if they received an award in the absence of our athletes, understands that it is inferior.”

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Chernyshenko is a prominent figure in Russian sport and headed the local organizing committee for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

As part of the IOC sanctions against Russia issued in February, he and President Vladimir Putin were both stripped of the Olympic Orders which had been bestowed upon them.

Chernyshenko said that despite the barriers imposed on Russian athletes at international level, the country had organized a large number of domestic alternatives for its sportspeople in 2022.

In addition, Russia is working to develop sporting ties with countries in the BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) groups of nations, the deputy prime minister said.

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Chernyshenko added that he is hopeful of Russian athletes being cleared to compete in qualifying competitions ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics.  

December 28, 2022 at 08:51PM
RT

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