Last year, the International Olympic Committee laid the foundations for Russia's return to international sport – under strict rules.
Among other things, the athletes had to compete as neutral athletes, which made it a bit exciting for many Russian passport holders.
Among them – the powerful cross-country boss Jelena Valpi.
– I am for everyone to decide for themselves, but at the same time I am convinced that 99.99 percent of athletes will say no (to compete as neutral athletes). I also think that athletes who say yes will not get (financial) support. The president added that for me personally, a person who says yes to something like this would be a traitor match.
Last year, many Russian athletes participated in various sports around the world. But the biggest test will be the Olympic Games in Paris this summer. Athletes from Russia and Belarus will line up at the start with their starting numbers on their chests.
Former cross-country skier Julia Tsybalova, who was caught doping in 2009, takes issue with Valpi's use of the words, and advocates that athletes should come head-to-head in the face of international competition:
– The whole country understands that the athletes who choose to compete as neutral athletes, given the situation we are in, are Russian athletes. They are our heroes who we will encourage and support. “We know that it is difficult for our athletes to accept the IOC regulations,” says Chepalova. championship.
– The fact that the head of cross-country skiing says what she does, instead of supporting the athletes, does nothing for the will to fight. We need athletes to compete for us. we are proud of you. Take the opportunity.
The Olympic Games will be held from July 26 to August 10 this summer. The decision to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus caused a sensation.
Among the critics is NRK sports commentator Jan Peter Saltvedt:
– It is sad that these are the values defended by the most powerful sports bodies, but there is absolutely nothing surprising in this decision. Everything has long pointed to this being the solution that Thomas Bach (IOC president) and his co-conspirators wanted and worked hard for behind the scenes, he told NRK when the news became known in December.
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