SportsThe "Swedish wall" must come down. How to...

The “Swedish wall” must come down. How to cool the fire of the enemies of Russian sports


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This week, Seoul will host the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), which will be attended by a delegation from Russia, chaired by President Stanislav Pozdnyakov. RIA Novosti Sport talks about the hopes that should be placed in the background of this event.

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According to Inside The Games, after ANOC acknowledged the participation of the Russian and Belarusian Olympic Committees at the organization’s plenary session, NOCs of various countries and “regions” opposed it. This list includes Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Faroe and the Aland Islands. The whole of Europe, the “Extreme North”, so to speak, turned against us.

This was joined by NOCs from Estonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Switzerland. In their statements, representatives of the organizations emphasize that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus do not see the possibility of participating in international events. Until the end of hostilities in Ukraine.

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However, there is nothing unexpected in such a position of the National Olympic Committees of the above countries. Of course, IOC President Thomas Bach said that Russians are not allowed into the international arena purely for their own safety. Recently, however, he has moved away from this hypocritical position by deciding to cut his womb of truth. What are the latest statements regarding the admission of athletes to competitions that do not support the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine? This is pure politics and discrimination of athletes on a national basis. What (as Bach claims) has no place in sports.

What is allowed for the leader also applies to his entourage. It is clear that those who are angry are mainly those who do not accept compromise in the political arena. In such a situation, it is unexpected that a number of Olympic committees made up of “unfriendly” countries even support the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the ANOC General Assembly. This, for example, is Portugal, which states that representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) must be present at the plenary. Also, the Italian NOC, which expressed support for the recommendations of the IOC, which are known to contain no sanctions against ROC.

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Pozdnyakov’s arrival at the ANOC General Assembly is of course important in terms of status. Also, because of possible behind-the-scenes negotiations that could have some ramifications regarding the hopes of Russian athletes returning to the international arena. It’s hard to say if it’s worth pinning too much hope on, though. For example, our delegation attended the summer convention of the International Skating Union (ISU), but the Russian skaters are still suspended. According to unofficial information coming from behind the scenes, representatives of many countries have verbally expressed their support to us, but they have not been able to formally oppose the IOC’s recommendations.

The reason is clear. Any decision of the international sports federation regarding the admission of Russians and Belarusians to the competition can be boycotted by the conditional “far north”. And in the case of the current process around the ANOC General Assembly, it is not conditional.

It is clear that the same countries may refuse to participate in tournaments where Russians will be admitted if the content of the recommendations of the IOC is fully observed. And, as you know, on paper it quite allows us and Belarusians to participate in a neutral status. It’s actually easier for federations to take the hardest route and “don’t let them go”.

So why did Russian athletes perform at the European SAMBO Championships in September? Why were Russians and Belarusians admitted to international tournaments by the boxing federation? Everything can be explained. First, our influence in governance structures is strong. Second, let’s say the influence of the competitors is not so important – neither in sports nor in administrative terms. Yes, the Ukrainian delegation withdrew from the European SAMBO Championship. However, no one participated in the boycott. And if the same Swedes or Finns had acted, they would not have noticed. How did they not notice their presence?

It is quite possible to make such a prediction. When it comes to the return of the Russians to the international arena, it will be primarily in sports where the influence of the “far north” is insignificant or absent. For example wrestling, weightlifting, gymnastics. Or where the leadership is highly professional – as in tennis. Such a test for professionalism could be the meeting of the executive committee of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, at which the issue of Russia’s performances at the World Cup will be decided. If the leadership of this organization demonstrates this, it will likely face the threat of boycott by the Norwegians, Swedes and Finns. What, most likely, will not be happy.

We need signals. We have been waiting for them from the IOC for a long time, but so far they are not available. I would love for them to be accepted at the next plenary meeting of ANOC. Then the probability of breaking the “Swedish wall” and cooling the “Finnish bath” will increase.

The author’s view may not coincide with the editors’ position.

Source: Ria

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With a passion for storytelling and reporting, I am an experienced writer and Editor with a focus on sports. As an Author at News Unrolled, I write engaging stories on the latest developments in the world of sports. My articles have been featured on numerous global media outlets and my work has been highly praised by renowned editors.


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