Though Russia's track and field team had already been excluded from the Olympics by the athletics governing body, athletes from numerous nations and disciplines were calling on the IOC to impose a ban on all Russian athletes, Censor.NET reports citing The Times.
Yuliya Stepanova, a Russian middle-distance runner, accused her country's sports authorities of systematic doping fraud in 2014. Her decision to turn whistleblower was courageous. It is testament to the pitiful wrongheadedness of the International Olympic Committee that while the majority of Russian athletes may well compete at the Rio Olympics, Ms. Stepanova was refused the right to take part as a neutral entrant yesterday.
However, according to The Telegraph, in a bizarre twist, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has invited her and her husband Vitaly to watch the Games in Rio as its own special guests.
She returned at the European Championships this month, but the IOC has ruled she cannot compete at the Olympics under a new regulation banning any Russian who has previously been served a doping ban.
Explaining the decision, the IOC said it weighed up Stepanova's contribution to exposing the Russian doping regime, with her "long implication" in it and the fact that she only spoke out after she had already been caught taking drugs.
Stepanova fled Russia with her husband and young son in December 2014 and has been forced to live in a secret location in the United States for much of the past year.
Despite dashing Stepanova's Olympic hopes, IOC president Thomas Bach said he hoped the decision would encourage other dopers to come forward and blow the whistle. "I think it will be an encouragement for all future whistleblowers," he said.
"We have expressed our appreciation for her whistleblowing and this is why we are inviting the two to attend the Olympic games as guests of the IOC.
"We indicated to Mrs Stepanova that we are ready to support her when she continues to train after her injury.
"We are ready to support her in her future life as an athlete so that she may be able to find another National Olympic Committee and fully participate," Thomas Bach said.