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.