Putin addresses Russian athletes before Olympics

 Putin addresses Russian athletes before Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed members of Russia's Olympic team in the Kremlin today.

He said that the decision by international sporting organizations to ban some Russian athletes from the games, flew in the face of common sense and legality.

“The deliberate campaign targeting our athletes was characterized by so-called double standards and opted for the idea of collective responsibility, which is not compatible with sport, justice in general, or the basic norms of law," Reuters cited Putin as saying.

The Russian leader said the scandal, which centers on allegations that the Russian government and the FSB security service systematically covered up doping for years, had unfairly targeted many Russian sports people who had not even faced specific and proven accusations.

"This is a blow to the entire sporting world and to the Olympic Games," said Putin. "It is obvious that the absence of Russian sports people - leaders in many sporting disciplines - will significantly affect the intensity of the competition and diminish the spectator value of the forthcoming events."

Putin said any medal won in Rio in the absence of Russian athletes would be worth much less than otherwise and that such victories would have a completely different taste.

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