Russian Turbulence On The Happy Trip To Tokyo Of The Olympic Family

Natalia Arriaga

Madrid, Dec 19 (EFE) .- The Olympic family flew smoothly to Tokyo, where July 24 will open some Games that, seven months before, are already an organizational and economic success, when a storm from Russia originated an area of serious turbulence that does not look final.

Never in the history of the Olympic Games had an organizing committee had the facilities practically completed so in advance. He had never raised so much money from local sponsorship, $ 3 billion, three times more than any other edition.


A dream for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after the troubles with which Rio de Janeiro fulfilled the organization of the 2016 Games. But happiness is never complete.

The falsification of the database of the Moscow laboratory, from which the World Anti-Doping Agency (AMA) found irrefutable evidence, has resulted in an unprecedented sanction, four years of exclusion of Russia from international competitions, a period that includes the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Beijing 2022.

However, Russia's long-awaited appeal to the Court of Sports Arbitration (TAS), the time it takes for this instance to listen to the parties and pronounce themselves and the time taken by international federations and the IOC itself to apply the measures threaten to bring the case to the gates of Tokyo.

'Logic and common sense say that the TAS ruling will arrive in time for the measures to be applied before the Tokyo Games. Let it be something to execute immediately, 'said the first vice president of the IOC, the Spaniard Juan Antonio Samaranch.

But from the Compliance Review Committee designated by the AMA to study the Russian case it is not ruled out that the country's sports authorities try to postpone the sanction with successive resources to the limit of the deadlines, in an attempt to go to the Games.

"If the decision is deliberately delayed so that it does not affect the Tokyo 2020 Games, then it would be postponed until those of Paris 2024, so it is up to the Russians to decide which Games they will go to," the Review Committee warned.

For the moment, the proposed sanctions open the door for Russian athletes free of any suspicion of doping to participate in international competitions as independent, without representing their country. Without his flag, without his anthem, without his uniforms … a full-blown humiliation for a country that since the division of the USSR has never come down from fourth place in the medal table of the Olympic G ames. The boxing team has already said that it doesn't happen there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recalled that since Roman law 'any punishment must be individual' and cannot have a 'collective character', which anticipates a hard battle to win the case.

Tens of thousands of athletes from all over the world immersed in the qualification stages for Tokyo 2020 now wonder if among their rivals the Russians will finally be, or how many and under what conditions.

Will the invincible synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics teams go there? And the swimmer Vladimir Morozov? And the tennis player Daniil Medvedev? And the athlete Maria Lasitskene?

Pending the outcome of the Russian case, the Olympic family has at least the peace of mind that, once in Tokyo and whatever the rivals, the conditions of competition will be the best.

The eight newly built stadiums promised by the organizers are standing and ready for the tape to be cut. The most emblematic, the National Stadium that will host the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics and football, was inaugurated on December 15 and will be released on January 1 with the Emperor Cup. Its appearance is imposing.

The 42 sports halls that will be used during the Games are only pending final touches, as are the Olympic and Paralympic Villas, whose execution is close to 98%.

The only unforeseen event that the organizers will have to face is the transfer of the marathon tests and march to Sapporo, decided by the IOC against the opinion of local officials.

The suffocating heat that is expected during the summer Tokyo caused fear for the health of the participants in these background tests and has opted for a headquarters 800 km north, where temperatures will be six degrees below.

Everything has a cost: the municipality of Sapporo has calculated that conditioning its streets and roads to put its asphalt at the feet of the athletes will cost 700 million yen, about 6.2 million dollars.

The IOC promised that, since the change of venue has been his idea, it will contribute financially to cover the expenses it generates.

The Games will have a budget of $ 12.5 billion that will be covered, apparently, without problems. To the 14 official sponsors of the IOC – the latest addition, Airbnb, has raised concern among the hoteliers – almost 70 local companies from all imaginable areas must be added that will lend their support to the Games. No other headquarters have been financially so clothed.

The economic figures are the tail wind that pushes the ship of the Olympic family, forced to fasten its seat belts because of Russian turbulence. But passengers trust a placid landing in Tokyo. There, 10,600 athletes, initially free of any suspicion of doping, will jump to the courts to play 321 titles at stake. The final success depends on them. EFE