On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Russia was banned from appearing at their 2018 events. Vitaly Mutko, former Sports Minister and current Deputy Prime Minister, has now responded to allegations that he was ultimately responsible for Russia’s “systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules”.
“Russia has never encouraged doping. There could not have been a [state-run] doping programme. An athlete is monitored 365 days a year. They can show up any time and take a sample.”
“If you don’t fight back, you will just be smashed… Nowadays everyone is trying to make some kind of axis of evil out of us, just because we’re a great sporting power.”
“First of all, we need to say straight that to some extent we are guilty ourselves because we gave pretext for this. Second, I think this pretext was used in a not completely honest way, to say the least…Undoubtedly, we will not declare any blockade, will not prevent our Olympic athletes from participating, if any one of them wants to participate in their personal capacity… [I] feel concerned for the guys, many of whom I know personally and consider them to be my friends. Each of them has to make a decision of some kind now.”