RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil –
Analysts fear tensions with the Russians could lead to another war if the Russians are banned from participating in the Olympic games. The Russian sports minister says “up to 67 athletes” have applied to track and field’s world governing body to be exempted from the ban on the Russian team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics
The IAAF is unlikely to approve most of the 67 athletes, since it has previously indicated the exemption is aimed at a small minority of athletes based abroad.
When a global governing body for sports barred Russia’s track and field team from the 2016 Summer Olympics on Friday over a wide-ranging doping scandal, it was greeted in Russia, as is with a deep sense of victimhood.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called the decision “unjust, of course.”
Mr. Putin said, “Russia is strengthening antidoping controls and athletes should bear personal responsibility for using performance-enhancing drugs.” Punishing the whole team, he said, “doesn’t fit any norms of civilized behavior.”
Outside Russia, sporting officials viewed the unanimous decision as a long overdue restoration of some fairness in competitions. After all, in some sporting events Russian athletes had been trouncing competitors for years before it turned out they were using performance-enhancing drugs.