IOC Creates 3-Member Panel to Finalize Decisions on Russian Athletes

After initially punting all decision-making authority on which Russian athletes would be eligible to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games that start on Friday in Rio de Janeiro, the IOC has announced that it will take back some control after federations have shown wavering willingness to execute the IOC’s guidelines.

In a statement, the IOC said that:

“The (executive board) decided to delegate the final decision on the acceptance of entries of Russian athletes to a review panel composed of three IOC executive board members: Ugur Erdener, Claudia Bokel and Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. The review panel is due to make a final decision in the coming days.”

Edener is from Turkey, Bokel is from Germany, and Samarach is from Spain.

In choosing not to fully ban Russia from the Olympics, the IOC did hand out the following directives:

1. The IOC will not accept any entry of any Russian athlete in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 unless such athlete can meet the conditions set out below.

2. Entry will be accepted by the IOC only if an athlete is able to provide evidence to the full satisfaction of his or her International Federation (IF) in relation to the following criteria:

• The IFs*, when establishing their pool of eligible Russian athletes, to apply the World Anti-Doping Code and other principles agreed by the Olympic Summit (21 June 2016).

• The absence of a positive national anti-doping test cannot be considered sufficient by the IFs.

• The IFs should carry out an individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete’s sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field.

• The IFs to examine the information contained in the IP Report, and for such purpose seek from WADA the names of athletes and National Federations (NFs) implicated. Nobody implicated, be it an athlete, an official, or an NF, may be accepted for entry or accreditation for the Olympic Games.

• The IFs will also have to apply their respective rules in relation to the sanctioning of entire NFs.

3. The ROC is not allowed to enter any athlete for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 who has ever been sanctioned for doping, even if he or she has served the sanction.

4. The IOC will accept an entry by the ROC only if the athlete’s IF is satisfied that the evidence provided meets conditions 2 and 3 above and if it is upheld by an expert from the CAS list of arbitrators appointed by an ICAS Member, independent from any sports organisation involved in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

5. The entry of any Russian athlete ultimately accepted by the IOC will be subject to a rigorous additional out-of-competition testing programme in coordination with the relevant IF and WADA. Any non-availability for this programme will lead to the immediate withdrawal of the accreditation by the IOC.

While the directive about not allowing previously-sanctioned athletes seems to have been adhered to, the rest of the requirements have been given varying degrees of attention. That includes the Russian Minister of Sport saying on Saturday that FINA was going to decide whether two athletes, Vlad Morozov and Nikita Lobintsev, who were named int he McLaren IP report would be allowed in the Olympics after previously saying they weren’t to be allowed, per the IOC mandate.

The IAAF (Athletics/Track & Field/road racing) federation barred all but one Russian athletes, the IWF (weightlifting) barred the entire federation; and the ICU (cycling) barred a significant portion of the Russian federation. Swimming has barred 7 athletes, with varying degrees of force, and several have made appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Russian diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming teams also don’t appear to be impacted (though that hasn’t been finally confirmed by FINA with any great specificity).

In short, there are a lot of balls in the air, and we may not find out who is actually swimming in Rio until we see who lines up behind the blocks when swimming begins on August 5th.


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4 years ago

Dear Lord, when are we done with that … ?

ct swim fan
Reply to  SLab
4 years ago

It does seem to be endless. There always seems to be another place to appeal to.

Carmen Escobar
4 years ago

Looking forward to how they plan to justify leaving the Russian athletes out when FINA is admitting others who have been positive before (some of them more than once). Regardless if it’s an state doping program, cheating is cheating… It should be zero tolerance to all. Some might be sponsored by their government and others are privately sponsored so what’s the difference? The impact towards clean athletes is the same… If FINA is to let the Russians out, the they should let the other cheaters out immediately!

Reply to  Carmen Escobar
4 years ago

One step in a time. Look how road cycling got improved in this regard. If they did it in one move as you are proposing they would create such a business crisis that they would never recover from. Don’t forget that we are talking about professional sport but not about amateur one. That is what all involved people are doing for living. That is a business first of all. I agree it does require ethics to sustain as much as stock or futures exchanges are protecting legally a fair competition. The violations done by Russian federations is the easiest case to prosecute now and it will make a great precedent. Is it possible that the politics is involvedon on both… Read more »

4 years ago

Meanwhile Morozov, Efimova etc are training hard without knowing if they will actually compete?? I agree that if they used doping they should be banned, but shouldnt the decision be made atleast 1 month before and not 1 week before the Olympic Games? Imagine if it was one of you guys… its like they are laughing at their hard work, not cool at all.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Lelada
4 years ago

It would be accurate to note that Efimova, Morozov, et al have been training for the Olympics & have travelled to Rio with the expectation they will prevail and be able to swim. It would not be accurate to state they are in limbo — the IOC edict barred them from the Olympics. They are appealing this, but that is not nearly the same thing. There isn’t uncertainty hanging over the Russian 7 insofar as the IOC rules are concerned. The uncertainty is only FINA’s position and the CAS process. It is well settled that the IOC’s position is these athletes are not eligible. The ROC ignored this anyways, and FINA continued the tack of making a joke of what… Read more »

Reply to  Lelada
4 years ago

Lelada, cheating is cheating.don’t pity the cheaters when they’re denied the opportunity to compete. Give clean athletes a level playing field and an opportunity to win (while competing with other clean athletes). The cheaters are getting what they deserve. Let ‘me watch the Games on TV while they reflect on their lack of integrity.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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