The BBC is reporting that the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) said that the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC‘s) decision not to implement a blanket ban on Russian athletes is a “significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.”
“Many, including clean athletes and whistleblowers, have demonstrated courage and strength in confronting a culture of state-supported doping and corruption within Russia,” said USADA chief Travis Tygart to the BBC. “Disappointingly, however, in response to the most important moment for clean athletes and the integrity of the Olympic Games, the IOC has refused to take decisive leadership.
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.
The criteria also counts out Yulia Stepanova, the Russian track star and whistleblower who first brought light to the country’s systematic and state-sponsored doping. Stepanova was also suspended in 2013 for a positive doping test.
“The decision to refuse [Stepanova] entry into the Games is incomprehensible and will undoubtedly deter whistleblowers in the future from coming forward,” said Tygart to the BBC.