Allowing clean Russians to compete at the Winter Olympics under a neutral flag is “fair and justifiable”, says former Great Britain bobsleigher John Jackson.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from February’s Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Tuesday after an investigation into allegations of state-sponsored doping at Sochi 2014.
But athletes who can prove they are clean will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag as an ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’ (OAR).
“It’s right not to allow Russia to compete but allow the clean Russian athletes to compete,” said Jackson, who along with team-mates Bruce Tasker, Joel Fearon and Stuart Benson is in line for a bronze medal after the disqualification of two Russian teams from the 2014 Games.
“Athletes who have made sure they’ve done it to the best of their ability – not enhanced – should get the chance to compete.”
Russia finished top of the medal table for those Games but have since dropped to fourth due to the number of athletes subsequently sanctioned for doping and stripped of their medals.
“I think we have been cheated, but I don’t hold any grudges,” Jackson said. “Life’s too short. We’re going to get what we deserve; we’re going to get the medal, so let’s just look forward to the Olympics.
“It will be a shame not to have Russia there because they are a big powerhouse in winter sport, but it now brings everything back to a level playing field and that’s all you can ask as an athlete.”