Athletes from one sport should not be punished for the sins of those from another, IOC president Thomas Bach has said. Bach’s comments suggest Russia may not be banned from the Olympics altogether for systematic doping.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is due to publish a report on Monday on its probe into allegations a state-run system helped doped Russian athletes escape detection at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Travis Tygart, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), is one of several who have said that if the report confirms systematic Russian doping then the nation should be excluded from next month’s Rio Olympics.
Russia’s track and field athletes are already banned from the Games as a result of state-sponsored doping.
Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said on Wednesday: “It is obvious you cannot sanction a badminton player for an infringement of the rules by an official or a lab director at the Winter Games.
Manipulation of rules
“In the same way, we would not consider sanctioning all athletes from a particular sport if there is manipulation of the rules by the leadership of a federation.
“What we have to do is take decisions based on facts and to find the right balance between a collective responsibility and individual justice.”
Speaking on a conference call with international news agencies, Bach said he did not want to speculate about what measures could be taken until there is evidence of an infringement.
The IOC was aware that several federations had already begun carrying out extra targeted tests on Russian athletes and made sure their samples are tested outside the country to try to build confidence in the results, he added.
One Russian athlete who could compete in Rio is long jumper Darya Klishina, although it is not yet clear which nation’s colors she would wear.
Klishina is based and tested in the United States and was declared eligible by governing body the IAAF, who suggested she be allowed to take part as a neutral.
The Rio Games begin on Aug. 5.