MOSCOW: Igor Lebedev, the deputy speaker of the Duma, has said that Russia should withdraw from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next February rather than accept the “humiliation” meted out by the IOC.
On Tuesday the executive board of the International Olympic Committee ordered that Russia, as a nation, be banned from the Games but that proven clean athletes could compete under a neutral flag.
Already Court of Arbitration for Sport has registered appeals by 22 Russian athletes against their disqualifications from the 2014 Sochi Games for doping.
President Vladimir Putin is expected to announce Russia’s official response today but immediate reaction in Russian sport and politics, as reported by TASS, was overwhelmingly angry.
Lebedev said: “The decision of the IOC is extremely insulting and humiliating for such a great sports power as Russia.
“Russia’s participation with such restrictions cannot be allowed. We are a great sports country and without us, the Olympic games will be completely different, we are constantly suffering the humiliation and insult.
“It’s probable that the time has come when we need to make a courageous decision and miss these Olympics.”
Lebedev said he was “very sorry for the athletes who were preparing [but] when the honour of the country is at stake, there can be no choice, it is obvious.”
The head of the Russian Skating Union, Alexander Kravtsov, also considered the IOC decision a mistake.
He said: “I believe that the IOC made a big mistake in making this decision, a decision based more on speculation than on facts. But two of our athletes [Olga Fatkulina and Alexander Rumyantsev] were suspended for life only because they were included in some list – there was nothing else. ”