Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This two-time Olympic champion and former Russian MP has said postponing the Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus is “God’s punishment” after the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from competing.
Former gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, 41, made the comments when speaking with Russian newspaper ‘Russian Sports Express’ where she expressed her opinion on postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Olympics were recently postponed to “the summer of 2021” due to the coronavirus pandemic, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.
When speaking about the decision Khorkina said: “I think this all happened because they shouldn’t have offended Russia, including our athletes.
“There is a reason why there is a line in our national anthem that says our land is protected by the Lord.
“It was unnecessary to start this political show when such a deadly virus is being spread all over the world” referring to the Olympic committee’s decision to ban Russia from participating in the Olympics and all global sports for four years over doping.
Then she concluded: “I think this was God’s punishment. While Russia is ready to help others just like before” adding that it is clear that “a fight for the greater good should be a joint one”.
Despite Russia being banned from participating in the Olympic Games athletes that were not involved in the doping case may still participate under a neutral flag.
Khorkina has been a member of the pro-Putin United Russia party since 2003 and is a nine-time world champion.
She won gold medals in the uneven bars at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta and defended her medal four years later in Sydney. She is often regarded as one of the most successful gymnasts of all time.
She was a member of the State Duma – Russia’s lower chamber of Parliament – from 2007 to 2011, and has held a position of deputy head of CSKA Moscow sports club since 2016.
There have been a reported 316,562 cases of COVID-19 which have led to 12,578 deaths around the world.
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