Russia’s track and field athletes will be banned from Rio following allegations of state-sponsored doping. They have lost their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which upheld a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The ruling, which came after repeated allegations of mass doping and state-sponsored cover-ups, could influence whether the entire Russian Olympic team is banned from the games. The country’s pole vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva said the decision had devalued the Olympics and compared it to a “funeral of athletics”. But sprinter Usain Bolt backed the ruling, saying: “This will scare a lot of people, send a strong message that the sport is serious, we want to clean the sport up.”
Let all these pseudo-clean foreign athletes breathe a sigh of relief and win their pseudo-gold medals without us … They’ve always been frightened of strength
The Russian Athletics Federation said it had done everything it could to ensure its team competed at Rio. Sports minister Vitaly Mutko, whose department is deeply implicated in the allegations of state-backed doping, dismissed the ruling as “political and one with no legal basis”. A planned ceremonial send-off for Russia’s Olympic athletes heading to Rio on Friday has been cancelled. Among those affected is Vera Rebrik who won gold in the javelin at the European Championships for Ukraine before switching allegiance to Russia following the annexation of Crimea in 2014. She said: “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry … I can’t find the words.” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said he was “thankful that our rules and our power to uphold our rules and the anti-doping code have been supported”.
I certainly regret such a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport which refers to absolutely all of our athletes. The principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov