What do you think about the recent doping scandals around Russian athletes? Is it a system and how can we fight it?
– The athletes are going through the same thing as men and women in day-to-day life – you show a little finger, and they bite off the whole of your arm. It all started with track and field athletes. They have attacking Russia in every way, treating it really roughly, imposing their opinion on everything failing to understand that we have our own mentality, our understanding of sports and duty. But it was us who showed the little finger first.
Indeed, some of the athletes used banned subsrances, which is a disgrace. It is more related to this sport where records are set a a really high level that only a genius born once in a century can beat them like Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
There are many people who still want to get to the top and people use prohibited substances. Sports is fully commercialized, achievements are measured not only by meters but money too. People will never earn enough. So people are ready to risk their health, honour, career to get through, to earn money, to grab and bite off.
Why do other, clean athletes suffer?
I would call it a campaign, they are going after Russia across all areas… It was started and stimulated by WADA not just to keep Russia down, there was another goal, too. WADA is challenging the IOC in a bid to become the most important sports body in the world. But it's impossible. WADA has a different mandate, it is supposed to discover cases of the use of banned substances and improve ways of its identification. WADA considers itself the almighty judge. For me, it's like a crime lord, he decides everything and people come to him for decisions. Right now WADA is trying to rule on the entire sports industry in Russia. This is completely unacceptable but this is what is happening.
I fail to understand why Paralympic athletes were suspended. It's an insult to people with disabilities, those did their utmost to get out of the difficult, boring, invalid existence.
I celebrated my birthday several times with Philip Craven, head of the IPC and a person with a disability himself. I am angered that he could have taken such a decision. I don't know how it came to his mind.
I met Craven several times. At one point during the Sochi Olympics he rode over to me in his wheelchair and said:
"Nick, take an interview from me, I want to tell the whole world about how great is has been organized". And then this comes.
I don't know what happened but the ideas I am getting lead me, an older man, to believe that everything can be bought in this world. Perhaps, I lay it on too thick but that's my take on it. We do have a system in place to fight doping. But it's still a long way before we prevail.
I don't consider it to be a state system. It's a system that was invented by a group of marginalised people. They believe somehow that bad things can happen to anybody except for them. Exposed? Not them. Suspended Not them.
I am sure that those dimwits who have let down themselves and the whole country will eventually understand that they will get caught and they will lose both the medals and the money.
It's time to put an end to it. And It's high time to stop WADA's campaign of bullying us mercilessly.
Despite the scale of the doping scandal, figure skating seems to stay out of it. How has the Russian Federation of Figure Skating managed to keep a clean reputation? You are a member of the executive committee…
– I have seen eight generations of figure skaters. For them the use of banned substances is extremely rare. I remember the suspension of Anton Sikharulidze. Poor guy, he used ephedrine drops to cure his runny nose. Another nice boy suddenly got an idea he could lose weight with furosemide, another prohibited substance.
This was not intentional and it's a walk in the park compared with what's happening in track and field and weightlifting. Figure skaters do not have a need for substances. Many foreign figure skaters have been suspended because of those mistakes and not for regular use of banned substances.
We have a wonderful coaching school, and this is the recipe for success.
There are failures, bad luck, biased decisions by judges. But this is sports, it's politics. It's hard to be Russian in elite sports today. We are under pressure and often face antipathy blown out of proportion, unfortunately.