Georges  Guelzec

A verdict has been reached, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided.

It was left up to the rulers of the International Sport Federations to take a major and difficult decision, consisting in excluding the cheats infiltrated within their respective disciplines.

This verdict also concerns the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).

Some will regret this option in as much as a general, collective sanction was expected from the IOC. 

For my part, being the President of the European Union of Gymnastics and as a former Olympian, I seize this opportunity to make the most of it for our athletes.

As a matter of fact, a collective sanction would affect innocent people that is the vast majority of our gymnasts who have nothing to feel guilty about except some rare and minor infringements of the rules in force. 

In this scenario, I would share this frustration and would appeal to the intelligence of their leadership so that they will analyse consciously the facts and motivations which have lead the IOC to this decision.

I am pleased with this opportunity given to the FIG to assume the choice its conscience calls for and to fight with all its might for and not against its gymnasts.

For the athletes of other incriminated disciplines and who will not compete in Rio this is a shock but no surprise. 

For months and months now, the fire smouldered and numerous warnings were on the minds of the authorities of the International Federations, including the FIG.

Georges Guelzec is against a blanket ban of Russian athletes despite the country's doping problems ©Getty Images
Georges Guelzec is against a blanket ban of Russian athletes despite the country's doping problems ©Getty Images

The evidences leaves no other option to the rulers, the keepers of the letter and the spirit of sport than to put an end to this perverse game, this unpleasant climate, this historic mistake.

A collective punishment is terrible. 

But each and every one must keep in mind that this exclusion applies exclusively to those who did not show enough intellectual consciousness and whose personal short-term ambition prevailed over any other long-term vision.

A lesson to be learned?

At a time when the FIG will renew its authorities, I appeal to the clear-sightedness of all candidates to avoid taking the easy way and to privilege governance worthy of our gymnasts. 

The development of gymnastics is a mission we have to apprehend with seriousness. 

Consequently we need serious people to lead them.