In a conference call today with media across the world, IOC president Thomas Bach posed the question “how far can you make an individual athlete responsible for a systematic failure?”
According to Bach, that question shaped the course of the IOC’s decision not to implement a blanket ban on Russian athletes, a ruling made earlier today.
Bach emphasized a twofold approach to the IOC’s decision.
“Firstfold, the message is clear that given serious allegations and given the information that we got, they have to assume a collective responsibility for the system’s failures,” he said. “On the other hand, the clean athletes will have a chance to participate… A clean athlete should not be punished for a system in which he was not implicated.”
The IOC will accept entries of each Russian athlete only if (1) they pass an individual analysis of his/her anti-doping record, (2) they have never been sanctioned for doping (“even if he or she has served the sanction”), and (3) they endure a “rigorous out-of-competition testing program.”
The second criteria has the biggest effect on the big-name Russian athletes of our sport, as it bars gold medal contender Yulia Efimova from competition.
However, the individual sports federations will be the ones enforcing the IOC’s decision, so any further appeals that come forth will be handled by both “an individual arbitrator” and, in the case of aquatic sports, FINA.
Bach feels the decision upholds the honor of the Olympic Games.
“[With our decision] we can show them that you can achieve something in Olympic sport and that you are accepted in Olympic sport only if you are clean.”