Russia outlines scenarios for Olympic return
Russia is preparing for the possibility that its athletes will be forced to miss the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, sports official Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Wednesday. He added, however, that the country was still hopeful that bans imposed on Russia would be overturned in time for the event.
Speaking at a meeting of the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) executive committee in Moscow, organization president Pozdnyakov said that strategies were being prepared which take into account varying scenarios.
“The priority scenario for us is that our athletes will take part in the Olympics in Paris, having passed through qualifying,” said Pozdnyakov, in comments shared by Match TV.
“No one knows what the criteria for the return of Russians to international competitions will be, it entirely depends on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and international federations.
“But in any case, the potential participation of the Russian team will involve the need to resolve a large number of organizational issues.
“We reasonably expect complications related to logistics, bank payments, obtaining visas and many other aspects of ensuring the departure of our teams and delegations. But we are ready for such challenges.”
Pozdnyakov went on to outline a second eventuality, in which Russian athletes remained banned for the Paris Games.
“The second scenario assumes that the full participation of Russian athletes at the Games without any restrictions will happen no earlier than 2026,” said the ROC chief.
“In this regard, we have developed a fundamentally new program to promote the development of Olympic sports, which is aimed at forming and strengthening the Olympic reserve in the medium term.
“The goal is to train a new generation of Russian athletes in Olympic sports at the highest level in order to enter the top three in the overall medal standings at the next Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028, after Paris.
“This is one of our key tasks, and now the ROC has all the necessary resources for its implementation,” said Pozdnyakov.
The IOC first recommended a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at international tournaments on February 28, following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.
IOC president Thomas Bach has said in recent weeks that it is “not the time” to consider changing that stance.
Bach has argued that the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes partially protects them from supposed hostility they would face at international competitions.
Figures in Russia have condemned that notion, accusing the IOC of discrimination and undermining the principle of sport being separate from politics.
It has also been noted that athletes from other nations – including the US and its NATO allies – have not faced similar sanctions when the governments of their countries launched foreign military campaigns.