A Russian whistleblower who helped uncover the biggest doping scandal in decades has told Reuters that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is more concerned about protecting the organisation than ridding world sport of drugs cheats.
A day after the IOC rejected a request by his wife, former Russian drugs cheat Yulia Stepanova, to run in the Rio Games as an independent athlete, Vitaly Stepanov said an invite to attend the Rio Games as spectators felt like they were being bought.
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 athletes who have been sanctioned in the past for doping would not be eligible for Rio.
“My personal view, from the communications we had with people from the IOC, those people had no interest in clean sport,” Stepanov said in a telephone interview.
“I got the impression the only thing they cared about, even the person from the ethics department, is protecting the IOC as an organisation.”
Stepanov, who previously worked for Russia’s anti-doping agency, and his wife 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.
Stepanov said the invitation to travel to Rio to watch the Games left them cold.
“I felt like, ‘Are you trying to buy us?'” he said.
“Is that how IOC treats whistleblowers? Make them quiet by giving them IOC accreditation and access to VIP lounges.”
A spokesman for the IOC could not be reached late on Monday for comment.