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Sir Chris Hoy and Emma Pooley condemn IOC decision on Russia

Individual governing bodies left to decide whether to let Russian athletes compete in their sports at Rio

Sir Chris Hoy has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of “passing the buck” in not imposing a blanket ban on Russia for the Olympic Games next month despite last week’s damning report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the country’s doping culture, while Emma Pooley says Russian cyclists should not be able to compete there.

Hoy, who retired after London 2012 where he won the fifth and sixth gold medals of his career, becoming Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympian, took to Twitter yesterday to express his disappointment at the IOC’s decision.

Rather than imposing a ban across all sports, the IOC has instead left it to individual global governing bodies of the sports that will feature at Rio. WADA and a number of national anti-doping agencies, including USADA, have condemned the decision.

But UCI president Bran Cookson, speaking to Sky Sports News as the Tour de France concluded in Paris on Sunday, said he felt that the IOC had made the correct decision, while adding that in the case of cycling, the governing body he heads will analyse the impact on the sport.

"I think we'll have to continue our detailed analysis of the situation," he said. "Which Russian rider has been selected for the Rio Olympics, who is in the registered testing pool, the biological passport, and so on.

“Frankly, I think I favour an individual approach rather than a blanket ban. I think that Russians cyclists are tested just as frequently as other nationalities," added Cookson.

Hoy isn’t the only leading British cyclist to have condemned the IOC’s decision, however.

Former world time trial champion Emma Pooley, who took silver in that discipline at Beijing in 2008 and who will ride the event at Rio next month as well as supporting Lizzie Armitstead in the road race, said Russian cyclists should be excluded from next month’s Olympics.

While the IOC’s decision last week came with the stipulation that Russian athletes who have served doping suspensions will not be allowed to compete at Rio, some are challenging their exclusion at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Olga Zabelinskaya, who won bronze medals in both the road race and time trial at London 2012 has since served an 18-month ban after later failing an anti-doping control, but still hopes to ride in Brazil should her appeal succeed.

However, Pooley, quoted on Mail Online, said: “Zabelinskaya got two medals in London, tested positive a year after London, served a ban and — hey presto — she’s back in competition again just in time for Rio.

“That makes me pretty angry, I don’t trust her, I know her home anti-doping agency isn’t testing her properly out of competition,’ said Pooley.

“I don’t think she should be in the race. I think anyone who tested positive should have a lifetime ban from the Olympics. I know it’s up to the UCI now, I would hope they wouldn’t allow the [Russian] cyclists to race.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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freebsd_frank | 7 years ago


I smell more than a whiff of hypocrisy.

If the IOC imposed a blanket ban on the Russians, they'd promptly be sued into oblivion for "restraint of trade" quite apart from "collective punishment" not flying too well in a court either.

I seriously doubt that Russian golfers are busy getting shot full of
performance enhancing drugs by their government in order to compete in the

The IOC know that they would have to prove in court that 100% of Russian Olympic competitors are cheats to support a blanket ban. Good luck with that.

The fact is that nowadays there is so much money sloshing around in
professional sport (and the gambling on it), that it's hardly surprising that
it's so crooked.

The muppets in charge and the sportsmen involved are always bleating about how they are going to clean it up and how much progress they've made.

It's self-serving nonsense, of course. The wide availability of drugs
(performance enhancing or otherwise) on the 'net, makes their feeble efforts
doomed to fail.


tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like

Think we're at the crux of the problem now.


We'd have a situation where innocent athletes would get caught in a ban, and dopers from other countries will go on and compete and win medals.


And everyone will go ahead and pat themselves on the back for a job well done because they got rid of the big bad Russians. Worse, people will actually be watching their TV cheering dopers on in the same breath.



700c | 7 years ago

When you consider the appalling state of out-of-competition testing in star countries like Nigeria and Jamaica, not to mention how far most sports governing bodies lag begind cycling in their testing regimes, (some only just introducing bio passports, and in 2011 the tennis federation didn't test the Williams sisters once out of competition in 2011 apparently!), it seems unfair to impose automatic bans against one country in particular.

That said, the evidence of state supported doping in Russia is so damning that surely it's an opportunity for IOC to show they're serious about punishing doping. Leaving it up to the (willfully inept or negligent) individual sport governing bodies shows weakness rather than leadership on this issue.

Increased in-competition testing will only do so much - in the case of many of these dodgy athletes (not just the Russians), the damage has been done already by training on the juice for the last 4 years.

It is said that the women's 1500m final in London 2012 is possibly the dirtiest final in history, dirtier perhaps even that Seoul '88 mens 100m(!), due to the subsequent doping revelations.

With all that in mind, I'm not sure I'll be able to believe any of the athletes competing in this year's games, Russian or otherwise.

Stumps | 7 years ago

Yes there are problems in other countries which will no doubt include ourselves and in my opinion more should be done about that and i agree to much has been swept under the carpet but this is systematic government run cheating on a scale never seen before. It's not a few coaches who feed their athletes banned substances it's coaches, athletes, drug testing centres and the government wilfully and knowingly cheating.
Coe & IAAF probably did know some of it as will other groups such as FIFA and they are just as culpable in my eyes.

There has to be a point when enough is enough and if it takes a very hard line / sentence then so be it.
We see on here multiple posts calling for lifetime bans for drug cheats in cycling and people like Miller getting called worse than shite, not enough testing in other sports etc etc yet when they do come down hard it's poo poo'd.

Stumps | 7 years ago

Personally I think there should be a blanket ban. It's been proven that it wasn't just coaches plying the drug it was the national government who supported this. Thousands of tests have gone missing or blood not even tested.
You simply can't just ignore it and only blame those already caught. As said many times on this forum a sports person should know exactly what they are putting into their body.

tritecommentbot replied to Stumps | 7 years ago
1 like
AWPeleton wrote:

Personally I think there should be a blanket ban. It's been proven that it wasn't just coaches plying the drug it was the national government who supported this. Thousands of tests have gone missing or blood not even tested. You simply can't just ignore it and only blame those already caught. As said many times on this forum a sports person should know exactly what they are putting into their body.


Then the proportionate response is to increase testing on athletes from that country.


To penalise hard working citizens for the wrongs of their government and other bad actors is never something I could put my name to. It's bigotry, anti-intellectual and unjust. Worse, I think it's political this time. Coe needs to remove the spotlight from allegations of his own dirty deals and put it on Russia. He knows people lap up that shit easily. 


Beer, bingo and Soviet bashing. 


Plus ça change.

Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago
1 like

Russia, like Armstrong is the whipping boy for the corrupt governing bodies that are trying to cover up their previous knowledge of cheating EVERYWHERE in sport. I don't believe for a moment people like Coe didn't have any idea of what goes on.  Like happened during the Armstrong era, it wasn't in the governing body's interest to ban Armstrong until the carpet had been completely lifted.

Supermen/women sell. Give them that Coca Cola money.

tritecommentbot | 7 years ago

Sorry, just can't agree with blanket bans. It's bigotry and in this climate it's political. We've had a hardon for Russia again since Crimea. 


If someone gets caught doping, ban them. Done.


You don't ban people who've worked since being a child on realising their dream to be told you can't compete because you're Russian.

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