Foreigners starting to realize errors of ‘Russophobic hysteria’ – Olympic official
The sweeping bans imposed on Russian athletes are the result of “unprecedented external pressure and Russophobic hysteria” but sporting organizations will reverse course and understand their mistakes, according to Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov.
Russian and Belarusian competitors have been barred from a wide range of international events in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, with many federations taking their cue from an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation issued at the end of February.
Speaking at an ROC Executive Committee meeting in Moscow on Thursday, Pozdnyakov said Russia would respond to the various measures imposed against its athletes – but would do so in the right manner.
“There is public speculation and attempts to escalate anti-Russian hysteria,” said the ROC chief in comments shared by TASS.
“We do not respond to provocations, but we are categorically against anyone exploiting our silence for counterproductive purposes.
“We will respond with actions. But in the spirit of friendship and respect, together.”
Citing the sweeping anti-Russian measures imposed by various sports federations, Pozdnyakov said the latest such example was efforts by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) to bar the ROC from its annual general assembly.
“There are a lot of examples in relation to Russians in the international sports society when hysterical - I won't call it otherwise – decisions are made.
“From the latest frankly absurd attempts by the European Olympic Committee to ban our participation in the general assembly of the organization. Today we will discuss the situation and make appropriate decisions,” added Pozdnyakov.
The ROC boss emphasized that Russian sport would remain open to contact with foreign counterparts – whom he predicted would eventually understand the injustice of their positions.
“By regularly contacting our foreign colleagues on practical issues, we note that the internal position of many of them is gradually being corrected,” said Pozdnyakov.
“It is understood that sooner or later they will have to somehow get out of the situation in which they were driven under unprecedented external pressure and Russophobic hysteria.”
IOC president Thomas Bach again attempted to defend his organization’s position this week, claiming that sanctions had only been applied to the Russian leadership for allegedly breaching the Olympic Truce, while athletes themselves were being protected for their own good by not being allowed at international events.
That stance was attacked by Russian Olympic and world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene in a scathing letter on Thursday, in which she accused Bach of lacking the “courage and dignity” to lift the bans on Russian athletes.