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IOC 'perverts' ideas of Pierre de Coubertin; sports must extend beyond politics — Putin

The Russian president pointed out that the Olympic Movement had been caught in a trap of financial interests over the past decade

VLADIVOSTOK, September 12. /TASS/. The leadership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is distorting the ideas of Pierre de Coubertin, the initiator of the Olympic Games revival, as sports must extend beyond politics and should be a uniting factor rather than a divisive one, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"I believe that the present-day leadership of international [sports] federations and of the International Olympic Committee, are perverting the original idea of Pierre de Coubertin," Putin said speaking at a plenary session of the 2023 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

"Sports must go beyond politics. It must unite, not divide people," the Russian president continued.

"But what happened over the past decade? The Olympic Movement has been caught in the trap of financial interests. We have witnessed the unacceptable commercialization of global sports and the International Olympic Movement," Putin noted.

The Russian president also lamented the degradation of the Olympic Movement.

"After all, it's not just about setting records. It's about uniting people and the global Olympic Movement has lost this function," he said. "This is very regrettable for the Olympic Movement itself, because alternative movements will start emerging one way or another and nothing can be done about this since it’s an unbiased process."

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is taking place in Vladivostok on September 10-13. The slogan for this year’s forum is: On the Path to Partnership, Peace and Prosperity. The Roscongress Foundation is the event organizer. TASS is the EEF’s general information partner.

IOC’s sanctions against Russia

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February 2022, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

At its session on January 25, 2023, the IOC Executive Board put forward a proposal to permit individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international sports tournaments, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, athletes from the two countries should not be "actively supporting" Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and must compete under a neutral status. Russia and Belarus were also banned from participating in international team events.

Pierre de Coubertin

In early 2020, Russian billionaire philanthropist and former President of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Alisher Usmanov donated to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne the original manuscript on the revival of the Olympic Games by Pierre de Coubertin, who is also known as 'the father of the modern Olympics.'

Coubertin wrote the manifest in 1889 laying out the principles of reviving the ancient Olympics in the modern world and used it for his famous speech in Paris in 1892. Two years later, he founded the International Olympic Committee and the first modern Olympic Games were organized in 1896 in Athens.

Coubertin, who was a French educator and historian (1863-1937), is also the author of the Olympic Oath, the Olympics Emblem and he proposed the IOC motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger" (Citius, Altius, Fortius; in Latin).

The first president of the IOC, when Coubertin founded it in 1894, was Demetrios Vikelas. Coubertin served as the president of the International Olympic Committee twice in 1896-1916 and 1919-1925.