Russian Prime Minister Medvedev: Athletes will decide for themselves whether to go to the Olympics or not

Right after Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the dismissal of the entire Russian team from the Olympics in Korea, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that nobody would prevent the athletes from participating in the Olympics under neutral status. Moreover, he even promised to cheer for them.

"This decision was a heavy blow for millions of our people and a real tragedy for many Russian athletes, since the South Korean Olympics is the last chance for some of them to compete for the highest sports awards. Unfortunately, the athlete's career is short-lived for obvious reasons," Medvedev stated, opening a government meeting on December 7.

To deny the participation of such athletes in the Olympics is to warp their lives, the Prime Minister believes. "Of course, those who receive permission will decide for themselves whether they should go to the Olympics in Korea or not. Neither sports federation, nor officials are eligible to give them orders. It should be their own choice. As for the government, I would like to point out that we will support any decision that our athletes make," Dmitry Medvedev summed up. "We will cheer for those who will go to the Olympics as we always do for our Russian athletes.”

Separately, the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers spoke of those who are not allowed to join the Olympic Games, presumably due to suspicions of doping drugs intake.

"The Government needs to prepare relevant proposals on support. I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of sport [Vitaly Mutko] and the Minister of Sport to take up the issue and report their proposals to me," the Prime Minister stated.

On December 5, the International Olympic Committee or IOC decided to exclude the Russian national team from the Olympic Games because of a doping scandal. The athletes may participate under a neutral flag. Russia also must pay 15 million dollars to the IOC. Vitaly Mutko himself was dismissed from the Olympics for life. He has already stated that he is ready to resign at any time.

  Olympics, Russia, Medvedev

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