Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games are winding down, and soon the spotlight will shift from the athletes’ performances to the celebration of sport through the theatre of the closing ceremonies. Hanging in the balance is your decision regarding Russian involvement in the Closing Ceremonies at Pyeongchang.
The world has been enthralled over the course of these Games watching athletic competition and marvelling at the incredible achievements of the athletes. For these athletes and their National Olympic Committees (NOC), the Closing Ceremonies will celebrate years of hard work, dedication and a commitment to Olympic values and clean sport. We are alarmed therefore at recent reports that if true, suggest the IOC is prepared to put ahead of clean athletes and the integrity of sport the interests of Russia, by inviting the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to participate in the Closing Ceremonies.
Remarks by your colleague Nicole Hoevertsz, IOC Executive Board Member and Chair of the Olympic Athletes of Russia Implementation Group (OAR IG) underscore that “The [IOC] Executive Committee has the explicit wish to lift the suspension of Russia during these Games”. The latest reports, if true, suggest very strongly that a deal may already be in place.
Each of you, as IOC Members, can express your support or opposition for such a secret deal. Each of you can signal to the ROC that to be recognised as an NOC requires an adherence to the fundamental values of sport and which can’t be bought. Each of you can indicate that you stand for clean athletes and the integrity of sport.
Regardless of what you may hope, you can’t merely ‘wish away’ the most significant fraud in the history of sport. A transgression of such magnitude warrants a proportional sanction which must go well beyond an irregular attendance at the Pyeongchang Games and paying a fine. By failing to impose a meaningful sanction on the ROC, the IOC would be culpable in this effort to defraud clean athletes of the world. Clean athletes continue to raise concerns and are understandably frustrated with the equivocal stance of the IOC when it comes to the systemic doping in Russia.
We don’t know what decision you will take regarding the ROC suspension nor if the standing of the Olympic Athletes from Russia will change before the flame in Pyeongchang is extinguished. However, should the IOC lift the suspension of the ROC at the commencement of the Closing Ceremony, we suspect the clean athletes of the world would be outraged.
Institutionalised doping in Russia has been proven by multiple investigations (e.g. McLaren, Oswald, Schmid and validated at CAS). It has been accepted by all authorities – except those from Russia. As first revealed by a former Doping Control Officer and former athlete from Russia, Russian Olympic athletes have benefitted from the doping regime for years. The retesting of samples from Sochi, London and Beijing validates the evidence of wide-spread doping and the ‘Sochi Plan’ provided by Grigory Rodchenkov and begs the question of how many others also benefitted but were not caught.
You may feel that the ROC is part of the Olympic family, and deserves to be welcomed back into the Olympic house. We would argue that Olympic Moments have been stolen by doped members of past Russian contingents with no acknowledgement of responsibility by the ROC nor indication of contrition; the sanction must align with the IOC ‘zero tolerance for doping’ policy.
Who deserves your support more? An organisation from a supremely powerful and accomplished country which over multiple Games took doped teams and to this day has offered no apology or evidence of attempts to reconcile; Or, is it the multitudes of athletes who were deprived of their Olympic moments and who rightfully expect proportional punishment for doping transgressions.
We are the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO). NADOs conduct the majority of anti-doping work world-wide each year. We hold sport accountable to the World Anti-Doping Code day in and day out. NADOs are the only Signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) uniquely dedicated to protecting clean sport – it is our raison d’ être. All other Signatories exist for other purposes – generally to promote and administer sport – to which anti-doping is ancillary.
Since our inception, iNADO and our membership have been forthright and unwavering in their support for clean athletes. iNADO calls on the IOC to exercise its authority to maintain the sanction of the ROC until such time as the ROC:
• acknowledges the findings of the McLaren, Schmidt and Oswald Commissions
• demonstrates contrition and apologizes for the harm created
• reinforces the WADA Roadmap for RUSADA compliance
• calls for a ceasing of all attacks on the whistleblowers and undertakes efforts to guarantee their safety
• takes action to bring about the turning over to WADA of the samples, evidence and data from the Moscow laboratory
• adheres to the additional conditions imposed by the IOC such as the payment of the requisite fine.
iNADO Board of Directors
• This Open Letter was published by the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) on 23 February 2018. Click here for the original.
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