No regrets for Bach over Russians at Rio decision


The president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, insists it was the right decision not to ban all Russian athletes from competing at the Rio Olympics earlier this year.

The IOC came under severe criticism for its perceived failure to take a strong stance following revelations of state-sponsored performance-enhancing drug use among Russian athletes, following an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Rather than prevent all Russian competitors from featuring in Rio, the IOC left it up to each international sport federation to make a call.

Bach was forced to defend the decision at the time and, three months on from the Games, remains firm in his stance that the IOC took the right course of action.

Asked by BBC Sport whether he had any regrets, Bach replied: "In general, no.

"Take the Russian decision; we have such broad support within the Olympic movement, the national Olympic committees, the international federations, the major athlete representatives, and in the political world, where this decision was highly appreciated.

"I was always sure, because with this decision we were defending our values and I always was sure we should not take a political decision. We should take a decision for sport, a decision which is doing justice to the athletes.

"If you are convinced of your values then you can also weather a storm because you know in the long run - once the dust has settled and the storm is over - then the people will realise that the values have been respected. This is why in this point I don't have any regrets."

Professor Richard McLaren's second report into doping in Russia is expected in early December, and Bach says the IOC must wait for the results of that before considering trusting the nation again.

"That depends on the report because I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

"We have to wait and then anticipate this final report of the IOC as we've created two commissions who will also give the Russian side a chance to be heard. This is a fair procedure and then the IOC will take all of the necessary measures and sanctions."