KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING: Thomas Bach’s conscience is clear over the ‘devolution’ decision reached by the International Olympic Committee over the Russian doping controvery
The IOC president told a news conference at the end of the organisation latest Session [congress] and on the eve of the opening of the Rio Games, that the considerations of all the arguments had been thorough and in the ultimate interests of ‘natural justice.’
Some athletes and anti-doping bodies have complained that justice is not best served by allowing competitors from a nation accused of a strategy of dope-test avoidance anywhere near an Olympic medal.
However Bach unrepentant and insistent that he would be content to face any critics of himself and his organisation.
He said: “I can look into the eyes of any of these athletes because I have a very clean conscience. Not only I but all the members of the executive board have weighed the arguments very carefully.
“We have the support of many athletes, the support of three continental athletes’ associations, the support of the World Olympians Association and you have all seen in the IOC Session that there was full support with just one opposing vote.”
He conceded that “in such a difficult situation there are good arguments on both side” and it was impossible to expect 100pc approval because “there are too many arguments and also too much passion.”
Bach also cautioned that the report to the World Anti-Doping Agency by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren had yet to be completed and “therefore we did not have all the facts available.”
He said: “I respect every athlete who may feel disappointed and may have another opinion but I can look straight in to his or her eyes because we have weighed all the arguments and taken our decision with a very good conscience.”
Bach summarised all the main items from the Session’s two-day agenda and looked forward to the 2016 Games.
Questioned about the host of problems surrounding the Rio hosting, he also hinted that this would be the last time for many years that the IOC took its prize event to the developing world.
Bach said: “If our model has withstood such a stress stest as here in Brazil tehn you can see it is more than robust because it is going through the worst of crises – economically, socially, health challenges, environmental challenges.
“These were not always easy times but we stand in full solidarity with Rio in dealing with thee challenges . . . such as I hope we will not have to withstand again in the future.”