Russia Won’t Keep Athletes Home, Putin Says After Olympics Ban

“Undoubtedly, we will not declare any blockade, will not prevent our Olympic athletes through participating, if any one of them wants to participate in their personal capacity,” Interfax quoted the Russian president as saying during a visit to a factory inside the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Mr. Putin’s remarks were delivered after a day of vociferous national discussion.

Some Russians, including many senior officials, lambasted the conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee as an indignity along with called for a boycott. Others, perhaps more sympathetic to the plight of the athletes, said in which Russians should compete whether they carried the flag or not.

Most Muscovites hurrying through a pelting snowstorm said they considered the ban yet another politicized decision meant to punish Russia.

“In their place I would certainly not go to the Olympics,” said Nadezhda Lazereva, a middle-aged women clutching shopping bags along with burying her head inside a large, furry hood. “in which can be a political decision, 100 percent.”

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, struck a common theme having a post on her Facebook page saying there was a constant onslaught through the West aimed at destroying Russia — world wars, the collapse of the Soviet Union along with, lately, economic sanctions.

“They are always trying to put us down in everything — our way of life, our culture, our history, along with currently sport as well,” she wrote.

State television, which often receives Kremlin guidelines for its reporting, was notably muted, even conciliatory, even before Mr. Putin had spoken. in which noted in which the committee had acknowledged in which Russia has tried to improve matters; in which the country could appeal the decision; along with in which the entire affair might turn out fine. There was a marked lack of the usual jingoism, although one main state broadcaster announced within minutes of the ban in which in which would certainly not show the Games.

The ban thrust Russia into its greatest international sporting crisis since before the Soviet Union collapsed, when the West led a boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow over the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The Kremlin later reciprocated, withdrawing its bloc of countries through the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

In Moscow, Vladimir Yakovchuk, a man in his 50s in a red jacket along with walking down the street with his wife, groused in which Russian athletes were being singled out for punishment while doping was clearly an international problem. He also hated the idea of competing under the Olympic flag.

“in which will be humiliating!” he said in Russian. “They’ll be like refugees.”

although an occasional voice did mention the cause of the ban along with suggest in which Russia address the doping problem.

“in which seems like a fair decision — there are problems in our sports with doping,” said Nikolai Lorkin, a young man with short hair along with trendy eyeglasses, who blamed the Ministry of Sport in particular. “in which’s impossible to do something on such a large scale without government support.”

Nevertheless, the athletes should go ahead along with compete under a neutral flag, he said. “This particular opportunity should not be taken away.”

Russia fielded a team of 232 athletes for the 2014 Games, which in which hosted at the southern resort of Sochi. in which dominated there, winning 33 medals, 13 of them gold. The International Olympic Committee has currently retroactively banned 25 Russians who competed in Sochi for doping offenses, stripping 11 medals, along with the investigations continue.

Those athletes who were required to be allowed to compete inside the Games will convene on Dec. 12 to decide whether to attend, Mikhail Degtyarev, the head of the Russian Parliament’s culture along with sports committee, told reporters.

The athletes themselves seemed divided. Some announced in which they wanted to compete. Others demurred, especially inside the face of earlier calls to label any who competed “traitors” along with to strip them of their citizenship.

Various famous Russian sports figures also weighed in.

Yelena G. Isinbayeva, a champion pole-vaulter, who won gold medals in 2004 along with 2008 although was barred through the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games along with much of the rest of the Russian track along with field team despite never failing a drug test, urged her fellow athletes to go. They would certainly still be identified as Russian, she told the news channel Rossiya 24: “Their rivals will know in which they are through Russia — in which will simply be a slightly different interpretation.”

Tatiana Navka, an Olympic gold medalist ice dancer currently married to the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, called the ban a “total injustice” in a post on Instagram although urged in which athletes be allowed to decide for themselves whether to go.

To make in which to the Olympics, not to mention fighting your way to the medal podium, required enduring “a huge, backbreaking path,” she wrote.

“Many athletes have already proven in which they are the best on the planet, along with not to give them the opportunity to win an Olympic medal, to get what they have sought their entire lives, can be tantamount to murder.”

Mr. Putin, prone to ascribing all the ills in which befall Russia as the product of an American-led plot rather than the result of any domestic, Kremlin-lead chicanery, had also described the Olympics scandal as a possible attempt to tarnish his campaign for re-election inside the presidential vote in March.

“What concerns me?” he said during a factory tour last month. “When will the Olympics take place? February, isn’t in which? along with when can be the presidential election? March. I suspect in which all of This particular can be done to create conditions on someone’s behalf to provoke sport fans’ along with athletes’ anger in which the state allegedly had something to do with in which.”

Boycott supporters organized a #NoRussiaNoGames campaign, arguing in which the country should prove in which the games would certainly be anemic without Russia. although most sports analysts along with others said there was no need to punish athletes who deserved the chance to compete.

Among them was Anton Shipulin, a Russian biathlete who won a team gold in Sochi in which has not been revoked over doping. He hoped for an individual gold in South Korea. Similarly, Yevgenia Medvedeva, 18, can be a two-time world champion figure skater having a chance at a medal in South Korea in which may not come again.

“She can be currently in peak form,” Aleksei Durnovo, sports commentator on the radio station Echo of Moscow, said in an interview. “This particular can be her chance to win. In figure skating, if you are not a champion by 16 or 17, then you are in decline.”

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