Winter Olympics 2018: Russia's 2014 Sochi Games success was 'an absolute disgrace', says Australia's chef de mission

Pyeongchang: The doping plot which allowed Russia to cheat its way to Olympic gold in 2014 was "an absolute disgrace", Australia's chef de mission said on Sunday, warning that "we should not forget".

Sochi Games. Reuters

Sochi Games. Reuters

Ian Chesterman's outspoken reaction came soon after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would not lift a ban on the Russian team for Sunday's closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The IOC could, however, welcome Russia's Olympic committee back into the fold after the Games – even though two Russian athletes tested positive for doping during the Olympics.

A contingent of 168 Russians was allowed to compete in South Korea as neutrals who had been heavily vetted.

A widespread and highly orchestrated drug-cheating programme propelled Russia as hosts to the top of the medals table at Sochi 2014 and Chesterman said the scars of that would not heal fast.

Moscow has denied any involvement, but Chesterman said: "I think the actions of the Sochi organisers and of the Russian authorities during the Sochi Games were a disgrace.

"I think it's appropriate that the world remembers for a long time what they did to the Olympic movement.

"I think it's appropriate that even if we forgive them, we should not forget the actions that they did during those Games.

"Whatever or how long this ban will last for, people will remember that they committed some serious offences against sport."

Chesterman backed the IOC decision to keep the formal ban on Russia in place, but said "clean" Russian athletes should be allowed to take part.

"My comments were very much based on the system that allowed cheating to be implemented at the highest level and infiltrated into Games operations. They were an absolute disgrace.

"In terms of Russian athletes, I believe clean Russian athletes should be allowed to compete because I believe they shouldn't pay for the sins of their fathers."

Separately, a lawyer for the Russian whistleblower who helped to blow open the Russian doping programme accused IOC president Thomas Bach of being a "drowning man" over the fate of Russia at the Olympics.

"But finally cooler heads within the IOC threw him a life preserver," Jim Walden, representing Grigory Rodchenkov, said in a statement.

Walden railed against "Russia’s continued retaliation" against Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory who is in hiding in fear for his life.


Updated Date: Feb 25, 2018 15:23 PM

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