The Beijing Olympics are over. But the criticism of the host country and the International Olympic Committee IOC is by no means silent – not even from the point of view of the athletes. The advocacy group “Athletes Germany” moved into his Press release from a sports policy point of view a bitter conclusion.
Several incidents at the Winter Games had shown that the “culture of silence” at the IOC urgently needed to be ended: “It is still unsuitable, even counterproductive, in order to master the tightrope walk that is difficult for sport, not to allow oneself to be politically to appear international and not to betray one’s values.” Managing director Johannes Herber explained to DW: “In our opinion, the IOC is at a low point. Its integrity and credibility are badly damaged.”
Align values and actions
The IOC has had recommendations for a human rights strategy for two years, and these urgently need to be implemented. “It now has the opportunity to bring about a turnaround through consistent action, especially in the area of its human rights responsibility. The IOC “Agenda 2020+5″ [für mehr Glaubwürdigkeit und Nachhaltigkeit Olympischer Spiele – Anm. d. Red.] also contains some starting points that urgently need to be pursued in order to restore coherence between the values of the IOC and its actions.” In future there will have to be “red lines” in award decisions whose decision-making criteria are based on human rights strategies.
“Athleten Deutschland” campaigns for far-reaching reforms in global sport. There must be a “real separation of powers, with independent arbitration and independent supervisory organizations that take consistent action against doping, corruption and abuses and stand up for the protection and rights of athletes”.
Debate about minimum age rightly opened
Herber supports the fact that the IOC used the Valiyeva scandal to reopen the minimum age discussion: “The IOC rightly opened this debate.” An age limit could protect children from merciless drill and excessive pressure to perform, especially in sports such as figure skating or gymnastics, in which minors are expected to perform at their best.
The Russian figure skater Kamila Valiewa is only 15 years old and was the center of attention shortly after winning the gold medal with the team of the Russian Olympic Committee: After a positive doping test, there was an urgent legal decision as to whether she was allowed to take part in the women’s individual decision. After the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave the green light, the young figure skater showed nerves and fell several times during the freestyle. Thus Valiyeva became a victim in many ways.
“Inconsistent IOC stance on Russia”
“Athleten Deutschland” believes that this should no longer happen with minors at the Olympic Games in the future: “As the supreme regulator of world sport, the IOC is responsible for conducting this debate in a credible manner and focusing on the rights of minor athletes to deliver.”
So far, the IOC has allowed the international professional associations to decide independently on age limits in top-class sport. Russia, for example, has been chasing medals with very young figure skaters for years because, from a physical point of view, they have a better chance of mastering difficult elements such as quadruple jumps in their prepubescent years.
IOC President Thomas Bach, who expressed his sympathy for the young athlete at a press conference and aptly described the emotional coldness of the trainer, must now credibly underpin this analysis, says Herber – with a discussion of the minimum age and other measures to protect minors Athletes: “Since the IOC’s inconsistent attitude towards Russia in the wake of the Sochi doping scandal could have contributed to this case, the IOC must now do even more to prevent similar fates.”