Russian high jump queen hits out at ‘two-faced’ Olympic boss
Three-time high jump world champion Mariya Lasitskene has launched a fresh assault on International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach, who she has suggested is two-faced.
Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Lasitskene made headlines earlier this summer when writing an open letter to Bach, whose organization recommended that Russian athletes be banned from global events as a response to the military operation in Ukraine.
Bach has claimed that bans on Russian and Belarusian athletes are partly in place to protect them from the supposed hostility they would face outside the borders of their respective countries.
On the eve of the athletics World Championships, which were held in Eugene, Oregon in July, Lasitskene doubted that Bach had the "courage" to lift the ban and allow her to defend her crown in the US, which was eventually taken by Australia's Eleanor Patterson.
Speaking to RIA Novosti this week in her homeland, the 29-year-old claimed Bach is hypocritical and once again blasted him for his treatment of Russians.
"Bach's duplicity is that he says that it is dangerous for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, but we see that tennis players travel around the world and everything is calm everywhere," Lasitskene pointed out, with the exception of Wimbledon where they were banned by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
"So let him just tell the athletes - you are Russians, you are all responsible for what is happening. And you are punished for it," she demanded.
"But do not tell the athletes that they are suspended for the sake of their safety. Why fidget?" Lasitskene asked.
"Everyone already understands that all this is due to the fact that I am from Russia. And this is the main message of my letter. Tell it like it is. There is no need to pretend to care about us. Just say that we are all to blame," it was insisted.
As part of the same interview, Lasitskene also made it clear that she has never considered changing citizenship in order to compete at international events.
"No, and now it makes no sense," she answered flatly, while also explaining there is a feeling that Russians will be "deprived" of competing at the Paris 2024 summer Olympics.
"But even then it was unrealistic to change citizenship," she said of a period of "hopelessness" when trying to find a way to compete at the World Championships.
"I would have missed three years because of the 'quarantine' and would not have achieved anything.
"But the first reason why I don’t want to change citizenship was, is, and will be that I am Russian. I have a Motherland, I was born here, and I want to compete for Russia," Lasitskene concluded.