Alexander Zhukov has today (Wednesday) said he will step down as president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) after deciding to concentrate on his political career instead of seeking re-election.
The 61-year-old has led the ROC since May 2010, but has said he will not contest elections scheduled for May 29, when a new executive committee will also be formed.
“In the recent difficult situation in international sports, it is very important that the person who heads the Russian Olympic Committee works in the ROC on a permanent basis,” Zhukov (pictured) told state news agency Tass.
“I do not have such an opportunity now due to the heavy workload in the State Duma. Therefore, after weighing all the pros and cons, I decided not to participate in the election of the president of the ROC.”
Zhukov is first deputy chairman of the State Duma and is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member. This membership was suspended on December 5 as part of the sanctions issued by the IOC amid the Russian doping scandal.
The IOC initially moved to ban Russia from competing at the 2018 winter Olympic Games after finding evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of doping results surrounding the 2014 Games in Sochi.
The Russian team competed under the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) banner in Pyeongchang, using kit without national branding, and the IOC had given athletes the chance to apply for invitations under this status. The Russian anthem and flag was also not used during medal ceremonies.
However, the IOC had said that it may partially or fully lift the suspension of the ROC from the commencement of the closing ceremony of the 2018 Games provided its decisions from December were fully respected and implemented by the ROC and by invited athletes and officials.
This was ultimately implemented on February 27, with the ROC reinstated, along with Zhukov’s membership.