KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The International Olympic Committee has almost fallen over itself in its rush to wipe the doping slate clean and welcome Russia back into the club.
A mere four days after barring Russian competitors from parading under their own flag at the Closing Ceremony of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang the IOC announced that the penance had been served.
The IOC and Thomas Bach needed only three sentences to “draw a line” – in his original presidential promise – under three years of toxic negativity enshrouding Russia in not only the Olympic but general sport and political spheres.
An IOC statement said:
The final notification of all remaining test results from the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation has been received from the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU).
The IOC can confirm that all the remaining results are negative.
Therefore, as stated in the Executive Board decision of 25th February the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect.
No reference to mass number of dope tests falings, no reference to the WADA investigations into an institutionalised doping and cover-up system.
The decision was welcomed in Moscow. Stanislav Pozdnyakov, first vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee, said: “It is joyful to note the fact that more than three months of work conducted by OCD jointly with our colleagues from the IOC for the last three months has been completed.
“A period of very hard, painstaking, unusual, I would even say thorny work is completed.
“A lot of what has been done in recent months will not be made public but at least many of our athletes, coaches, and other delegation members at the Olympic Games had the opportunity to represent our country fully, albeit in the status of Olympic athletes from Russia.
“Our athletes won a large number of awards and proved to all their compatriots that sport is not a political process but competition for the sake of good, peace and prosperity.”
The original IOC ban was imposed on December 5. Russia has thus served a suspension of less than three months . . . the sort of suspension which would be considered derisory in the case of any individual athlete.
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