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INTERVIEW Russian biathlon coach Gross: We are living with the situation By Volker Gundrum, dpa

Europe, Europa
07.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Russia‘s biathlon men‘s team is saddened by the news that they could only compete without their national symbols at the Pyeongchang Olympics, but their German coach Ricco Gross tells dpa it is important they can compete at all

Hochfilzen, Austria (dpa) - Russian men‘s team biathlon coach Ricco Gross tells dpa in an interview Thursday that his athletes are saddened by the decision of the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia as a team with their national symbols.

But he says ahead of the World Cup events in Austria that he is doing everything he can to help them and that is more important they have a chance at all to compete at all at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Gross, a four-time Olympic and nine-time world champion, has been in charge of the Russian men‘s team since 2017.

dpa: How affected was your team after the IOC rulin?

Gross: If you are an athlete from a nation, regardless of which, and then learn that you can only participate without your flag, if you are allowed to participate at all, then the first thing the an athlete expresses is sadness. But they can participate, and that is much more important. Now we are living with the situation.

dpa: Have you talked about it with the team?

Gross: The athletes are my priority, I will do everything to help. We have talked about it in the team, and we will continue to do so. It‘s natural that such an issue isn‘t discussed in one evening. But some things have to settle and then basic decisions have to be made. Such as how will the Russian Olympic Committee act?

dpa: Can you understand the IOC decision?

Gross: Of course.

dpa: How surprised were you that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin left it up to the athletes to decide whether they want to participate or not?

Gross: It is a hint of democracy that has come to Russia when you leave it to the athletes whether they compete or not.

dpa: Are you concerned that your athletes can‘t compete if the IOC test criteria are not met?

Gross: I have been saying for several years years that our training took place in central Europe and that all [doping] control opportunities were there. I can‘t do any more as coach.

dpa: Your World Cup team includes an athlete who has served a doping ban, Alexander Loginov.

Gross: If I have correctly read and interpreted the rules that were set up then he can‘t start at the Olympics.

dpa: Is it easier for you as a coach when an athlete who has tested positive isn‘t in the Olympic team?

Gross: This is not about biathletes, you should apply this rule for all athletes who have tested positive, summer or winter.

dpa: How annoying is it for you having to deal with this issue over and over again?

Gross: It is the way it is. But it isn‘t an issue that affects only the Russian team. I have said that last year, two years ago - performance-enhancing is not only an issue in Russia, it is a global problem.

 

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