Russia decision moment of truth for IOC, IAAF, says Pound

Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:06pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - With a jaded sporting world looking on, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the athletics governing body face the moment of truth on Friday, says former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound as drug tainted Russian athletes await their fate for the Rio Games.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council will meet on Friday in Vienna to decide if Russia, currently suspended from international track and field competition, will have the ban lifted clearing a path for them to compete at the Rio Olympics.

But even if granted amnesty by the IAAF the Russians will still have one more hurdle to clear with the IOC having the final say on whether they will be allowed into the Rio starting blocks.

Russia was suspended from all track and field in November after a WADA independent commission led by Pound unearthed evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping.

Pound told Reuters that both the IOC and IAAF are under tremendous scrutiny and mounting pressure from athletes, sponsors, broadcasters and fans to get the Russian decision right and restore confidence in both the sport and Olympics.

"My gut feeling is that some of the folks in the IOC bubble have no sense of the collective outrage if it makes the wrong decision," said Pound, a Canadian lawyer and longstanding IOC member. "It is not like we are talking about Sierra Leone here.

"The Russians have the habit of doing an indoor hammer throw whenever they don't get their way and that is what everyone is trying to avoid.

"But you forget that we got along perfectly well in Los Angeles without Russia being there the same as we did in Moscow without the U.S. being there."   Continued...

World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) former president, Dick Pound, who heads the commission into corruption and doping in athletics, gestures at a news conference in Unterschleissheim near Munich, Germany, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder