IOC Approves List Of 389 Potential Russian Neutral Athletes
A list of 389 Russians who "could potentially compete as neutrals" in PyeongChang has been finalized by the IOC, according to the BBC. Russia was banned from next month's Winter Olympics -- "and those who wish to take part must prove they are clean." The IOC said that it is "not possible to project" how many would be approved but the Russian Olympic Committee can "start proposing" athletes who want to compete. The ROC also defended itself over claims that "whistleblowers are not being protected." Friday's IOC statement follows the joint publication of a letter -- signed by UK Anti-Doping and 19 other national anti-doping bodies -- that demanded the IOC "publicly call" for protection for whistleblowers (BBC, 1/19). In N.Y., Rebecca Ruiz reported the IOC did not publish the names of the approved athletes, their drug-testing histories or the specific criteria used to assess the group. It said, "More than 80 percent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes." Paul Melia, Canada's top anti-doping official, called that statement "naïve." He said, "In the face of evidence of a state-run doping program going back to at least 2011, to think that overnight there's a new generation of Russian athletes ready for the Olympics?" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19).