- Russia will not be banned generally from the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.
- Yuliya Stepanova will not be granted the privilege to compete in Rio. Neither under the neutral Olympic flag, nor under the flag of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).
What a ridiculous decision. After all she had done by providing various information that helped to reveal the systematic doping in Russia, she was only invited as a guest in Rio.
Very spontaneously Kaj decided to create a petition, addressed to the IOC and its president Thomas Bach, demanding to let Yuliya Stepanova compete in Rio under the neutral Olympic flag.
That escalated quickly
The petition got enormous feedback in very short time. A response that was not expected but it showed very clearly that this story was not something that some exotic people were talking about, no this story concerned many people all over the world.
Translations of the petition were made step by step. Having started with a German text, we soon had translations in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. And the resonance was amazing.
Constant ignorance by the officials
In the early phases of the petition change.org and Kaj tried to contact the IOC or Thomas Bach. With several thousands voices in the back he thought that the IOC would show some reaction. The IOC indeed reacted through their head of communications Mr. Christian Klaue. But the answer was highly disappointing. Standard phrases and links to the official press releases of the IOC was all that we got. Even the request to hand over the petition together with all signatures has been declined. It was very obvious that the IOC tried everything to ignore the petition, to ignore the voice of people all over the world. The Olympic Games in Rio started – without Yuliya.
Resonance and support all over the world
In contrary to the officials of the IOC, the petition was not at all ignored by the rest of the world. The resonance was phenomenal. Supporters in Germany, UK, USA, France, Italy, Japan, Brasil and many more countries signed the petition in no time.
It was truly obvious, the people did not agree with the decision of the IOC. They appreciated the achievement of Yuliya and Vitaly for a clean
sports and although Yuliya was penalized because of doping in 2011, they believed in her change to a whistleblower and a ambassador for fair competitions.
And the support reached them. While living in a hidden place somewhere in the USA, not being able to work, not being accepted as an athlete to Rio, the petition gave them encouragement that they have done the right decision and to continue that way.
Beside the supporters all over the world, the Stepanovs themselfs, their manager Patrick, there was also a great crew that made the success of this petition possible. The team of change.org, Sebastian and Jeannette, all the people providing the translation, like Julia, Serge, Nina, Stephanie, Mathieu and all that I might have forgotten.
Petition closing and next steps
The petition was closed at August 17th, 2016, the day of the 800m women’s final and Yuliya was not part of the competition. The voices of 275,565 supporters having signed the petition had been ignored constantly. The IOC does not seem to have the opinion that it is serving the sports interested people all over the world. Serving Lobby interests seems to be more valuable for this organization.
So the fight is not over!
- We still support Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov for a better future. They need a place to stay, a home, a work permit and education for their son.
- Yuliya is still an athlete and she must be allowed to compete in the next competitions – and in Tokyo 2020, of course .
- We still fight for clean sports and to reveal doping. Therefore we would like to encourage people to share the information they have. A secure platform to do this is SportsLeaks.com.