Russian whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov, who helped uncover the biggest doping scandal in decades, said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is more concerned about protecting the organisation than ridding world sport of drugs cheats.
Stepanov, who previously worked for Russia’s anti-doping agency, said, “My personal view, from the communications we had with people from the IOC, those people had no interest in clean sport.”
“I got the impression the only thing they cared about, even the person from the ethics department, is protecting the IOC as an organisation.”
He and his wife, former Russian drugs cheat Yulia Stepanova, helped expose the doping scandal which threatened to exclude Russia from the Olympics. The couple now live in an undisclosed location in the United States, fearful for their lives.
The IOC decided on Sunday not to impose a blanket ban on Russian athletes due to the country’s doping history, allowing sports federations to decide on individual cases.
However, it said that athletes who have been sanctioned in the past for doping would not be eligible for Rio.
Stepanov cautioned that the IOC’s stance on Russia was a green light to others engaged in doping.
“If you are doping in a system that is similar to Russia, continue doing so because there is no reason to fight it because in the end the IOC will say they will not punish the system, but we will punish the whistleblower,” he said.
A day after the IOC rejected a request by his wife to run in the Rio Games as an independent athlete, Vitaly Stepanov said an invite to attend the Rio Games as spectators left them cold and it felt like they were being bought.
“I felt like, Are you trying to buy us? Is that how IOC treats whistleblowers? Make them quiet by giving them IOC accreditation and access to VIP lounges.”
A spokesperson for the IOC could not be reached late on Monday for comment.