Politics in sports


ROC President Pozdnyakov invited to Olympic Summit in Lausanne despite Ukraine war

ROC President Pozdnyakov invited to Olympic Summit in Lausanne despite Ukraine war
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Russia's Stanislav Pozdnyakov is one of only three Presidents of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to be invited to the Olympic Summit in Lausanne later this week, despite his country's invasion of Ukraine, it was announced here today.

Pozdnyakov will represent the NOCs along with Gao Zhidan and Susanne Lyons, Presidents of the Chinese Olympic Committee and United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, respectively at the Summit chaired by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

In September, Pozdnyakov, a former fencer who won a gold medal in the men's sabre as part of the Unified Team at Barcelona 1992, claimed that Russia's athletes should be honoured to fight in the war of Ukraine if they were called up after Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation of troops.

According to the IOC, the "Olympic Summit forms part of the ongoing consultation process on important issues of significance for the future of the Olympic Movement."

It is held annually and, besides representatives from the NOCs, the heads of the leading International Federations are also invited.

They include Gianni Infantino and Sebastian Coe, Presidents of FIFA and World Athletics, respectively.

This year's Summit will be the first to be held in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with the last two editions being held virtually.

This year's Olympic Summit will be the first to be held in person since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic

At this year's event on Friday (December 9), "discussions will focus on several topics of interest to the Olympic Movement, including the successfully held Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024, an update on the Olympic Winter Games 2030, and Olympic Games Optimisation," the IOC announced.

Also on the agenda are the Olympic Qualifier Series, the Olympic Esports Series, and anti-doping.

"The state of the Olympic Movement will also be discussed at the Summit."

There is no specific mention of the situation in Ukraine but it is expected to feature highly on the agenda.

Russian and Belarus athletes have been banned by most International Federations following the invasion of Ukraine.

In public, Bach has adopted a strong position maintaining that the ban must remain in place.

But, behind the scenes, he has been discussing finding a solution that will allow a limited amount of athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete at Paris 2024.

Stanislav Pozdnyakov was accused of using the ANOC General Assembly for "propaganda" purposes after showing two videos featuring events in Moscow held after Russia's invasion of Ukraine

At the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Seoul in October, Pozdnyakov caused controversy when he showed two videos as part of his presentation for the Culture and Education Commission, which he chairs, that featured two events in Russia which took place since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

Several delegates staged a walkout in response to the videos, with National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark President Hans Natorp describing the contents as "inappropriate propaganda."

Husain Al-Musallam and Morinari Watanabe, Presidents of the International Swimming Federation and International Gymnastics Federation, are also on the guest list.

Jae-Youl Kim, the recently elected President of the International Skating Union, will represent the winter sports, along with Johan Eliasch and Luc Tardiff, who lead the International Ski Federation and International Ice Hockey Federation, respectively.

IOC vice-presidents Ser Miang, John Coates, Nicole Hoevertsz and Juan Antonio Samaranch also expected to be present, along with Executive Board members Emma Terho, chair of the IOC Athletes' Commission, and Nenad Lalovic, President of United World Wrestling.

Mustapha Berraf, Spyros Capralos, Nevan Ilic and Randhir Singh, Presidents of the Continental Associations in Africa, Europe, Pan America and Asia, respectively, are invited.

Robin Mitchell, the head of Oceania, is invited in his role as President of ANOC.

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