Road To The Olympic Games

Track-field

IOC leaves door open for some Russians to compete in Rio

The IOC today reiterated its support for the ban on Russian athletics at this summer's Rio Olympics, while opening the door to allowing some track athletes to compete under the Russian flag. Russia's Olympic Committee says the country won't boycott the Games as a result, but is considering a lawsuit, according to a report.

Summit in Switzerland reaffirms support for IAAF ban

IOC news conference following closed-door meeting on doping 15:37

Olympic leaders called for drug-testing of individual Russian and Kenyan athletes across all sports, warning Tuesday that evidence of inadequate doping controls in those countries could lead to more teams being barred from the Rio de Janeiro Games.

The International Olympic Committee reiterated its support for the ban on Russian athletics at this summer's Olympics, while opening the door to allowing some of the country's track athletes to compete under the Russian flag. 

At a summit in Switzerland, the IOC confirmed its initial response to the decision by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), saying it has "serious doubts" that athletes from non-compliant countries such as Russia and Kenya are clean.

The president of the Russian Olympic Committee says the country will not boycott the Games in Rio de Janeiro according to state news agency TASS.

Strict conditions for Russia, Kenya

While backing the IAAF decision, the summit also expanded the scope of the doping investigations to deal with all sports in Russia and Kenya, two countries deemed non-compliant with rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The summit, which also cited "substantial allegations" against those countries, put the onus on each international sports federation to make sure their athletes are clean ahead of the Rio Games, which open on Aug. 5.

"The Olympic summit considers the 'presumption of innocence' of athletes from these countries being put seriously into question," the leaders said in a statement. "As a result, every [international federation] should take a decision on the eligibility of such athletes on an individual basis to ensure a level playing field in their sport."

Bach said the federations need to take into account whether the tests were analyzed at tainted labs or fail to meet to meet other international standards.

"They have to be satisfied the status of the individual athlete puts them on a level playing field with all the international competitors in their sport," he said.

Kenya — home to many of the world's top distance runners — has been hit by dozens of positive drug cases in recent years and has struggled to set up a credible anti-doping system. IAAF officials, however, have said Kenya should not be in danger of missing the games because its athletes have been subjected to extensive international testing.

While upholding its ban on Russia last week, the IAAF had opened the door to a small group of Russian athletes who live and undergo rigorous drug-testing outside the country to apply to compete as "neutral" athletes in Rio. The IAAF has said that would apply to only a handful of athletes.

Any athletes who succeed in their appeal would compete under the Russian flag, Bach said, not an Olympic or neutral one.

Additionally, the IOC concluded that the anti-doping system has some "deficiencies," while calling on the World Anti-Doping Agency to convene a world conference on doping in 2017.

Russia considering lawsuit against IAAF

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee said the committee will consider a lawsuit against the IAAF, according to TASS. 

Alexander Zhukov also said the country will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the blanket ban on the country's track and field athletes, specifically on behalf of athletes "who have never violated anti-doping rules."

He says the Russian Olympic Committee supports the appeals and will also challenge the IAAF decision to "prevent the violation of the Olympic charter."

Zhukov said he hopes the CAS will make an "objective, fair and lawful decision."

With files from Reuters

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.