Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), has said the country could bid to stage the 2028 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, despite being in the midst of a doping scandal that has led to the nation being stripped of the hosting rights to various events, with the International Skating Union’s World Cup Final in speed skating the latest to be reassigned.
In an interview with state news agency RIA Novosti, Zhukov (pictured) said the country is considering three cities as potential candidates for the bid, including Sochi, the site of the 2014 winter Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not yet commenced the bidding process for the 2028 Games, with the organisation due to vote later this year on the host for the 2024 summer Olympics – a race that is being run between Budapest, Los Angeles and Paris. A decision for the 2028 Games is not expected until 2021.
“It's hard to say now, but why not,” Zhukov said. “I think it's completely possible to try. It's not just St. Petersburg, we also have Kazan which is a possibility. It’s also possible in Sochi.”
Russia currently finds itself at the centre of a state-sponsored doping scandal, further details of which were revealed last month in a report by World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) investigator Richard McLaren. The revelations have had a major impact on the country’s athletics scene, with its track and field team currently banned from professional competition.
In addition, various sports federations have opted to withdraw scheduled events from Russia in the wake of the scandal, with the ISU becoming the latest to do so.
This year’s ISU World Cup Final in speed skating had been due to take place in Chelyabinsk from March 10-12, but the sport’s global governing body in December announced that it would be moved to an alternate location. The ISU has now said that Sørmarka Arena in Stavanger, Norway, will play host to the competition from March 11-12.
In July, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took seven provisional measures against Russia, headlined by the refusal to organise or give patronage to any sports event or meeting in the country. In addition, the IOC called on all Olympic winter sports federations to “freeze their preparations for major events in Russia,” including world championships and World Cups and “to actively look for alternative organisers.” These measures were extended last month.