Rio Olympics 2016: 5 biggest Russian athletes we will miss at the Games
In December 2014, amidst all the qualification rounds and preparations for the Rio Olympic Games, a German documentary rocked the whole sporting world. It featured Russian athletes, coaches and anti-doping officials who revealed that the Russian government was involved in obtaining performance-enhancing drugs for athletes, which also included them covering up positive test results of their athletes.
The World Anti-Doping Agency took up the matter seriously and reacted by forming an independent commission to investigate the consequential issue. The agency released two reports in December 2015 and January 2016 which revealed that there was substantial evidence of a state-sponsored drug program in Russian track-and-field athletics.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) acted on the recommendation of WADA and decided to ban Russia from competition in any international events. Referring to Russia’s ban at the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that individual international sporting federations were free to decide which athletes will be competing at the Games.
112 athletes out of 387 athletes initially named have been banned by their federations. These banned athletes include any competitors with previous doping suspensions. However, with the rulings on the athletes still an ongoing process, the figure might well come down from the remaining 275. Some Russian athletes have finally started to arrive in Brazil ahead of the Games, but some of the biggest names will not be present. We take a look at the big name Russian athletes who will not be in Rio:
1) Yelena Isinbayeva
Yelena Isinbayeva is a pole-vaulter from Russia who has thrice won the World Championship, in 2005, 2007 and 2013. The Russian has won two gold medals at the Olympic Games when she successfully defended her medal in pole vaulting at 2008 Beijing which she had first won at Athens 2004. Russia’s most decorated athlete will not be able to participate at the Rio Olympics because of the ban.
The IAAF did not accept her request to participate in the Olympics even though the 34-year old had a clear record and had never been found guilty of doping. Isinbayeva had previously said that she will go to the court if she was not allowed to participate at the Games, as she said it was a clear “violation of human rights.”
Her fate had been dependent on the Court of Arbitration for Sports’ (CAS) ruling on the matter which was announced on 21 July 2016. The decision of the IAAF was upheld by the CAS, therefore none of the 68 athletes who had filed the case will be in Rio.
The Russian had finished third in the last London 2012 Olympics, winning a bronze medal and was hoping to finish her career at a high by bagging a third gold medal at Rio 2016. But sadly, the decorated Russian athlete will not be featuring at the Games.