Thomas Bach: Russian athletes should not suffer because of others' actions

Thomas Bach: Russian athletes should not suffer because of others' actions

Russian athletes, who could be banned from the Olympic Games in Rio because of the doping scandal, are not responsible for the actions of dishonest government officials and should not suffer because of other people's actions, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said.

"I see this topic like a deja vu, what we have already been through. In 1980 we fought against the boycott, tried to defend the rights of athletes. I received letters that said I was a traitor of my own country, that I was a communist, if I don't support the idea of boycott," quoted him as saying.

Bach recalled that the German Democratic Republic had a powerful doping support system at the time. "It popped up, there were evidences that athletes received doping without knowing about it. It was found out before Olympic Games 1992 in Barcelona, after the unification of Germany. And not even one person voted to ban the entire country. It was clear at the time that personal rights of athletes must be respected," he stressed.

He noted that the decision made by the IOC takes the interests of athletes themselves into account. "Innocent should not be responsible for those illegal actions that the authorities of their countries take. But we will deal with these actions," he assured.

"If McLaren's report is true, the Olympic movement has just experienced an attack of unprecedented force," he added.