Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko thinks that the IOC made the right decision today in refraining from implementing a blanket ban on Russian athletes in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
“We are very grateful to the International Olympic Committee for the fact that in choosing between collective responsibility and the rights of individual athletes, it took the decision that every athlete whose reputation today is untarnished, who is clean, without doping, has the right to compete in the Olympics,” Mutko told the BBC.
Instead of banning all Russian athletes from competing in the Games, the IOC decided instead to set forth a list of special criteria that Russian athletes must meet to compete, less than a week after a report confirmed state-sponsored and systematic doping in Russia.
The decision from earlier today essentially set into place hurdles for Russian athletes to clear in order to compete but left the ultimate decision to the sports’ governing bodies (FINA in swimming’s case). One of the requirements for Russian athletes to compete in this year’s Games is that they cannot have been been previously banned for doping.
The decision not to allow previously-banned athletes, in theory, will rule out the possibility of competition from world champion Yulia Efimova, though some think FINA will still allow her to compete. Efimova was suspended in 2013 for 16 months after a positive doping test.