Polina Malinina
Russian Federation

Polina Malinina

"This decision strongly contradicts my values and ideas about what sport should be"

A member of the Norwegian International Olympic Committee decided to support Russian athletes and resigned.

"This decision strongly contradicts my values and ideas about what sport should be"
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On February 25, the Norwegian Sports Confederation announced that Russians can compete in their country under a neutral flag, as they do not support racial discrimination and want to give athletes a chance to prove themselves at international competitions. Despite this, on February 26, the Norwegian Sports Confederation changed its decision, and Russian athletes were declared undesirable guests at the ski competition. In addition, the authorities of this Scandinavian country sent an appeal to the IOC with a request to suspend Russians and Belarusians from all starts.

This and many other facts caused the independent dismissal of Oyvind Watterdal, Deputy Chairman of the Olympic Committee of Norway. However, Watterdal stated that he does not support the policy pursued by Russia. He is outraged that the members of the athletes' commission of the Norwegian Sports Confederation were not invited to the discussion. "I have no expectations that it will lead to anything but I do this for my own conscience, to stand up for my Russian colleagues and be able to stand and look them in the eye” — said Oyvind Watterdal.
Also the Deputy Chairman added: “I am a strong opponent of the ongoing war and personally know Ukrainians who are both above and below ground who are terrified”.

The reaction on his decision is quite different: “I have received positive feedback from those I have sent messages to internally. There was also one in the Sports Board who said that he respects the decision even if he disagrees. I have been against political demonstrations on the podium. In general, I do not want to mix politics and sports, so there are probably others who think there is a lot of politics in sports. But there is no excuse.”

Oyvind Watterdal will continue in the executive committee for the rest of his term, but has no plans to continue after it expires soon.

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