Olympics: Mikhail Gorbachev makes plea to the IOC not to ban Russian athletes from Rio 2016
LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications
(SFC) Former Russian General Secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev has written a plea letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach "to resist calls to ban Russia from the Olympics".
The Nobel Prize laureate states that a ban would "contradict the very culture of the Olympic movement based on universal values, humanism and principles of law" and he calls for the IOC to "pursue individual justice over collective punishment".
He added that he is concerned that Russian citizens, among officials and athletes, were involved in doping and states that serious action should be taken against the guilty to address this pressing issue.
However the innocent should not bare the weight of the punishment of the guilty and have their right to participate and this goes against the culture of the Olympic Games.
Here below is his letter:
To the President of the Olympic Committee
Mr Thomas Bach,
I am appealing to you to take my view into consideration when making a decision on the admission of Russian athletes and Paralympians to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
I support the fight against prohibited substances in sport. It is an evil that must be eradicated. Those athletes who are proven to have doped should be banned from competitions.
I am deeply worried by the fact that there also were Russian citizens among officials and athletes who used doping and falsification for the sake of "victory at any price".
Serious conclusions should be made on this. It is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation, punish the perpetrators and take measures to prevent anything similar in the future. I am confident that this will be done.
At the same time, I am concerned and deeply saddened by the possibility that in case all Russian athletes are banned from competing in the Olympic Games, the innocent will be punished together with the guilty.
The principle of collective punishment is unacceptable for me. I am convinced that it contradicts the very culture of the Olympic movement based on universal values, humanism and principles of law.
I hope that you will carefully regard these arguments and make a fair decision.
Nobel Prize Laureate
**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.
For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()
All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.