Olympic discus champion Christoph Harting has sharply attacked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) around President Thomas Bach for its position on the Russia question.
“The fact that Bach is friends with a mass murderer (Russian President Vladimir Putin, d. Red) who is wanted with an arrest warrant may be his personal decision, but he and the IOC are driving themselves to ruin with this attitude and are taking all of us athletes with them.” , Harting told Sport Bild and suggested asking a kind of trust question among the associations, “if something like that is possible.”
The gold medal winner from Rio 2016 attested to the Bach-led IOC’s “staged diplomatic attitude” that led “almost without exception to all international athletes being speechless and bewildered”.
Harting considers it wrong for Russian and Belarusian athletes to start at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. “If only to prevent scenes similar to those in Munich in 1972. The political tensions, whether ‘neutral’ athletes or not, cannot be estimated,” said Harting. Violent clashes within the Olympic village cannot be ruled out.
“In the end it’s a loss for all athletes”
Harting is critical of a boycott of the games by German athletes. “In the end, it’s a loss for all athletes who are deprived of the chance to participate in the Olympic Games,” said the 33-year-old: “But I’m not talking about personal decisions against them – and I don’t buy the word myself ab – ‘neutral’ athletes not to compete. This decision is up to all athletes themselves.”
Despite heavy criticism, the IOC executive opened the door for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to world sport at the end of March. The previously banned athletes should be able to participate in competitions under certain conditions.
Bach had postponed the decision about the start of the Olympics, which is the sole responsibility of the IOC, to a “suitable” time.