(ATR) The IOC says Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva has “every right” to take part in athletes’ commission elections, despite the Russian athletics team’s Rio ban.
On Monday, the Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne rejected Isinbayeva’s last-ditch bid to take part at the Rio Games, according to the TASS news agency. The double Olympic pole vault champion lost her appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling to uphold the IAAF’s ban on Russia’s track and field team over state-directed doping allegations.
At a media briefing in Rio, spokesman Mark Adams defended the IOC’s decision to allow Russia’s most high-profile athletics star to be on the list of 23 candidates competing for four seats on the athletes’ commission.
“She is not guilty of any doping offense,” Adams said, explaining that the 34-year-old was eligible to be on the list having participated at the London Games.
“It is a democratic vote. She has every right to be here and a right to stand in the elections.”
Angela Ruggiero has replaced Claudia Bokel as chair of the IOC Athletes Commission. Dae Sung Moon, Alexander Popov and Yumilka Ruiz Luaces also finished their terms of office after serving eight years. Athletes began voting in the Olympic Village on July 24. The vote closes on Aug. 17, with the result to be announced the following day.
Chinese Flag Gaffe
After upsetting the Chinese NOC by using the wrong flag, Rio 2016 has acted to correct the error.
The four yellow stars on China’s flag carried by fencer Lei Sheng at the opening ceremony, were not tilted to point to the big star, causing a commotion in China.
Andrada said a Brazilian company was “producing a bunch of flags correctly now. The first flags should be here shortly”.
Ticket Sales Update
Rio 2016 said they sold 495,000 tickets for the 55 sport sessions on Sunday.
On Monday, 287,000 tickets were sold, representing 78 percent of available tickets. Games organizers say most of the tickets not going to Brazilians are being bought by fans from Argentina and Chile.
A total of 84 percent of net sellable tickets have been sold, Rio’s ticketing chief Donovan Ferreti said.
Asked why many seats remained unfilled at various venues, Ferreti attributed the empty seats to “lots of double headers”, especially in football and beach volleyball, with spectators in some cases arriving to watch the first session but not taking their seats for the second one.
Rio 2016 communications chief Mario Andrada said the Games social education program was giving youngsters the opportunity to watch some sports, helping to increase attendances across venues.
Asked if Rio chiefs were happy with TV images of empty seats being beamed around the world, Andrada hit back: “Some of the events have massive crowds and a massive atmosphere. We have to fix other problems. Empty stadiums are not a growing trend.”
Zika Virus No Issue
Responding to the first query from a journalist about the impact of the Zika virus relating to athletes or NOCs, Andrada restated that the mosquito-borne virus was “not an issue during the winter”.
“We have a colder winter than normal therefore the contamination rates for Zika and mosquito-related diseases have dropped beyond our expectations. We don’t have any single case.”
The IOC president spent the afternoon watching diving and gymnastics.