In a bitter open letter, Marija Lasitskene, the Russian Olympic champion in the high jump in Tokyo 2021, accuses Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of acting cowardly and politically with his recommendation to exclude Russian athletes instead of in the spirit of the Sports and the Athlete.

Michael Reinsch

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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The 29-year-old uses the flower to distance herself from the war that Russia has been waging against Ukraine for more than three months.

She still doesn't know what to say to Ukrainian athletes and how to look them in the eye, she writes: "You and your friends and relatives experience what no human being should ever feel.

I'm sure none of this should happen.

And no arguments can persuade me to change that mind.

But you don't know all this;

They prefer not to know about the opinions of Russian athletes and how our athletes live in the light of recent events in Ukraine.

If they really cared about the fate of athletes, they would not demand that they speak openly about these events, but would try to unite the world through sport.

Exclusion from the 2016 Olympics

The husband of the Olympic and three-time world champion, sports journalist Vladas Lasitskas, published the letter in Russian and in an English translation on Twitter.

"I'm not sure if you know me," writes the star of international athletics in it: "According to your most recent statements and decisions, you are already much closer to politics and further away from athletes and professional sport in general.

But I remember very well how you looked the other way when current IOC member Sebastian Coe (President of World Athletics/editor's insert) did not allow me to compete in the 2016 Olympics simply because I was in Russia am born.

In about four of the past seven years, I haven't had the opportunity to

The Russian track and field team was excluded from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games because the world association had suspended the Russian team the previous year for systematic doping.

Only one athlete from Russia was allowed to participate as a neutral athlete.

The IOC prevented whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, who had fled Russia, from attending.

In Tokyo, Marija Lasitskene was one of just nine athletes allowed to participate by World Athletics.

The process of lifting the suspension of the Russian Athletics Federation has been stalled since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The world association pulls a trump card in the form of their Russian passport out of their sleeve at every opportunity and gets through with it, writes Marija Lasitskene: "Now they do it again, but directly at your suggestion."

The high jumper has in the past criticized Russian federations and authorities for their inaction in the fight against doping, which led to her being banned from competing.

Now she suggests doing without national flags and anthems at the Olympic Games and all other sporting events.

She dismisses Bach's security concerns as false;

the participation of Russian athletes in tennis tournaments proves this.

"I have no doubts that you do not have the courage and dignity to lift the penalty for Russian athletes," writes the athlete.

"You would then finally have to admit that all these months you have been violating the Olympic Charter and turning the policy papers of international federations from real documents to useless paper."