The Swedish biathlon star Sebastian Samuelsson has severely criticized IOC President Thomas Bach for his attitude to a possible comeback of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the World Cup and also indirectly raised allegations of bribery against the German.
Swedish biathlon star Sebastian Samuelsson is beside himself because a few days ago IOC President Thomas Bach indicated a comeback for Russian and Belarusian athletes in the World Cup.
“It worries me that there are more and more voices saying the exclusion is wrong,” Samuelsson told Swedish newspaper Expressen. One of these voices, which the biathlon star criticized particularly sharply, is that of Thomas Bach.
“He was Russia’s best friend during a doping scandal and the war. Somewhere I wonder what he got for maintaining his pro-Russia line, which he keeps falling back on. I think that’s very strange,” threw Samuelsson indirectly accused the IOC President of corruption.
Samuelsson: Sport used for propaganda
In his eyes, a return of the excluded athletes is simply unthinkable. “Most people thought the spring expulsion was a good idea. And nothing has changed since then. Nothing that would justify changing that decision,” Samuelsson pointed out that Russia’s war against Ukraine is still ongoing and claims new victims every day.
He himself had doubts about the exclusion at the beginning. But then he saw how more and more Russian athletes used their exceptional position to pass on political messages from the Kremlin.
“Sport was used to spread propaganda. Many posed with Putin and we know that many sporting leaders are closely linked to those in power,” said the Swede, who described the discussion about a return that Bach helped initiate as “ridiculous ” referred to.
The fact that the IOC boss only advocated the start of the Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag does not affect Samuelsson in his opinion. “Just listen to the commentary on Russian TV. Nobody says anything but ‘Russia’. Of course the flag isn’t there, but it still feels like too light a punishment for a very serious offence,” said Samuelsson .