Facing further doping criticism, Russia hints at bid for 2028 Olympics

The disgraced president of the country's Olympic Committee made the comments to Russian state media

Russia, Olympics, Doping

Image: Matthias Schrader / AP/Press Association Images

Despite a strong indication from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti that a gentleman’s agreement had been brokered with the IOC for the California city to host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games, Russia has now hinted it is considering a formal bid for the sporting event.

LA and Paris are the only two cities remaining in the exhaustive and costly bidding process for the 2024 games, after Budapest dropped out when Hungarians voted against continuing in a referendum.

Garcetti previously hinted that Paris and LA officials had hosted discussions with the IOC to the effect of awarding LA the 2028 games and Paris the 2024 ones. But now Alexander Zhukov, president of the scandal-ridden Russian Olympic Committee, has said the federation could “potentially” be interested in a rival bid.

After saying he planned to resign from his position on the ROC in October in the wake of doping allegations, Zhukov spoke to Russian state news agency TASS in which he answered questions about the IOC jointly awarding the 33rd and 34th Summer Games. Describing this as “a purely hypothetical thing,” Zhukov reiterated suggestions one of several cities in Russia – including Moscow, St Petersberg, Sochi, and Kazan – could play host to the world’s biggest sporting competition.

The initial statement came in January, just days after the Institute of National Anti-Doping Agencies called for Russia to be prohibited from playing host to international sporting events due to its state-sponsored doping regime.

“Until they acknowledge their problems, until they show some contrition about what they’ve done to the sporting world, [then] they really ought not to be competing and their athletes ought not to be welcome at sporting events,” INDADO chief Joseph de Pencier told CNN earlier this year.

Since the publication of the McLaren Report, which in exposing state-sponsored doping of 643 Russian competitors revealed “only a minimum” due to the limited access to Russian records, Russia has backtracked on even acknowledging its role in the scandal. With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea only eight months away, the World Anti-Doping Agency is working to suspend every Russian athlete from taking part.

Zhukov, who has been critical of the McLaren Report for targeting Russia, also told TASS that any ban of the country’s competitors would come with major consequences.

“It is a very dangerous thing which may cause a new rift in the Olympic Movement,” he said.

“Boycotts and suspensions will lead nowhere as far as sports is concerned. So I am glad that the IOC has been preventing such attempts.”

He added: “As members of various organisations, we have been striving to ensure the unity of the Olympic Movement and its values for we believe it is a crime to try to turn sports into political weapons.”

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