Olympic bosses "passed the buck" on banning Russia's drug cheats, says Paralympic legend Tanni Grey-Thompson

Olympic bosses "passed the buck" on banning Russia's drug cheats, says Paralympic legend Tanni Grey-Thompson

Honest athletes have suffered through drugs cheats, says Grey-Thompson

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

British Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of "passing the buck" and backed the decision by their Paralympic counterparts to ban Russia from the 2016 Games in Rio.  

Where the IOC moved the responsibility for deciding whether or not Russian athletes could compete in the Olympic Games to the individual sports, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) last week announcd they would ban all athletes from the country taking part, as a result of investigations of a huge state-sponsored doping programme. 

Grey-Thompson, who represented Great Britian in five Paralympic Games, winning 11 gold medals, told Paul Ross: "The IOC passed the buck a little bit. To do it so late and say to the international federations 'you have to deal with it case by case' is a bit unfair.

"For the Paralympics, the IPC is the governing body for athletics, so they couldn’t dump the decision on anyobody else.

"Yes [banning all Russian athletes] is unfair – there will be clean athletes in the Russian team.

"But over the years there’s been lot of clean athletes who’ve suffered through people taking drugs.

"I don’t think the IPC will have taken the decision lightly, and I think there will be an appeal, but I think they have to take a really strong stance.

"We have to find a way of getting drugs cheats out of sport. Because what’s happened so far hasn’t discouraged people from taking drugs.

"I think there should be life bans – we have to find a better way of making sure the public can believe in what the Olympics and Paralympics are meant to be about."

As part of her role as chair of UK Active, Baroness Grey-Thompson is supporting National Fitness Day.  

Taking part on September 7, the day is aimed at encouraging the British public to become more active. Inactivity costs the country an estimated £20bn a year, and is responsible for 37,000 deaths. 

Listen to the full interview to find out more