Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has written an open letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, urging them to allow to raise the Russian tricolor and sing the national anthem of the Russian Federation in honor of the victories of Russian athletes at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. The text of the letter published by the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.
“Although any form of discrimination, as stated in the Olympic Charter, is not consistent with the principles of the Olympic movement, the IOC decision puts the clean athletes of Russia at a disadvantage compared to athletes from other countries,” wrote Usmanov.
“After all the purgatory qualification for the Olympic games, clean sportsmen of Russia will be: a) for months waiting for the decision of the special Commission of the IOC about their fate, b) deprived of the support which is traditionally organized by the national Olympic committees and, most importantly, C) are denied the right to see the flag of their country and hear their national anthem,” said the entrepreneur.
Usmanov reminded the IOC of the principle of Roman law Nulla poena sine lege (No guilt, no punishment). “Innocent is not punished and put on his knees. It demeans the dignity of the person and the athlete, undermines faith in law and justice. His short life in sports, athletes live only for one brief moment to see the flag of their country in the sky and hear the national anthem of their homeland. It’s the pinnacle of their glory, their Everest”, — he wrote.
“I urge members of the IOC Executive Board to weigh in the scales of sports justice, on the one hand, the desire to punish the perpetrators and, on the other hand, the rights and aspirations of clean athletes of Russia, their equal rights as members of the Olympic family. Let’s give a chance to at least contest winners 2018 from Russia to reach the pinnacle of their sporting dreams and to see in the sky of Pyeongchang flag of their Motherland”, — said Usmanov.
On 5 December the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee has suspended the national team of Russia from participation in the winter Games in 2018. Athletes, who managed to prove their innocence to doping, will be able to compete under a neutral flag.