Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today said that he is confident that French prosecutors’ decision to expand its investigation into corruption in athletics to encompass the bidding and voting process for the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will not harm the IOC. “The IOC has done as much as an organisation can do to address the issue of corruption”, said Bach (pictured) at a press conference in Lausanne today. “We have all the rules and instruments in place to fight corruption with zero tolerance […] we know that no government, institution or organisation is immune to this evil of corruption. Therefore, it is the duty and the obligation of an organisation to have robust tools, instruments and rules in place.”
Bach said that the IOC sought information actively “in order to address all potential issues at the earliest possible moment and with zero tolerance”. He pointed to the IOC decision to suspend former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack a day after the first World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report into corruption in athletics as evidence of this.
Bach also appeared confident that the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are on track, mentioning a “comprehensive, clear and encouraging” report from the Organising Committee about the organisation of the Games. He pointed to public support of 70% as “remarkable”, and said that the reason only 47% of tickets have been sold is due to cultural differences. “Brazilians don’t buy tickets at such an early stage as the British or Germans do”, he said.
He said that the fact that the Organising Committee was able to present a balanced budget was due to a solidarity effort. “National Olympic Committees and the IOC have recognised the difficult situation the country is in, and that the reasons for the crisis are beyond the control of the organising committee”, he said. “The Olympic movement worked side by side with our Brazilian parties to address the exceptional situation in an exceptional way”.
He also said that issues around water quality and the Zika virus had been addressed through the IOC’s partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Applications will update athletes daily and will also provide precautionary measures that can be taken regarding health. “We are confident that everything will be ready”, he said.
The IOC also announced that it would create an Olympic team of refugee athletes. “I am happy to announce the creation of the Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes”, said Bach. “We want to send a message of hope to all refugees of the world”. Bach said that the team would receive the same privileges as other National Olympic Committees, including doping tests performed by WADA. It will compete under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem.
At present, 43 athletes have been identified who could qualify for Rio 2016, however Bach said he expected the final team to be between five and ten strong. Members of the team – athletes and officials – will be announced bt the IOC Executive Board during its June meeting in Lausanne.
Bach also spoke about the IOC’s Transgender Guidelines and Hyperandrogenism Regulations. You can read more about his comments on this here.
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