From Inside the Games

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Stanislav Pozdnyakov believes the crisis in Russian sport has been reversed and that they are now “moving in the right direction” in alignment with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Pozdnyakov, the four-time Olympic fencing champion who was elected to replace Alexander Zhukov earlier this year, claimed that significant progress has been made towards resolving the doping crisis in political circles since the country were forced to compete neutrally as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

He cited last month’s meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach and Russian leader Vladimir Putin as evidence of improved relations.

But he also argued that the IOC were never “opponents”.

“We were at the epicentre of global processes and had to do everything in our power to keep Russian sport in [the] proper place in the international system and to provide the opportunity for athletes to take part in all Olympic competitions,” Pozdnyakov told R-Sport.

“The decision that was made on the participation of our team in Pyeongchang was, of course, extremely unpleasant.

“But it was just as unprofitable for the IOC, which was very seriously criticised for the fact that the Russians, albeit in the status of ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia,’ were nevertheless admitted.

“You yourself saw it all and remember to what extent our opponents and the media that seconded them took up arms against the IOC and Thomas Bach.

“In this situation it is not very true to say that we were some geopolitical opponents with the International Olympic Committee and its leadership.”

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