When asked about his initial reaction to the IOC’s decision, the one-time triple jumper and the coach of famous Brazilian jumper Jardel Gregório said that as someone who had devoted his entire life to studying Olympic sports, he believed that the Russians’ absence in Rio will dent the status of the world’s number one sports event.
“Russia has always had outstanding athletes in all sports events, who contributed immensely to each and every competition they participated in.
With Russian track and fielders out, the Olympic Games are losing much of their quality and luster,” Antônio Carlos Gomes said.
On the possibility of Russian athletes taking part in the upcoming Games under the IOC flag, he said that some of them are in peak form now, but may already be old enough to compete in 2020 and 2024.
“I think it would be fairly logical to allow those of them who have not been punished to come to Rio.”
“There is a very special sports culture and policy existing in Russia which allows athletes to achieve the results they have been showing the past fifty years. I learned a whole lot living in your sports centers where we trained athletes and where I realized what coaching top-notch athletes is all about. It was an awesome experience.”
He said that even though the Soviet system cared more about sports and its athletes, Russia remains a major sports power.
“The Russians' absence in Rio will be a great loss for all of us,” he added.
When asked to name Russia’s very best track and field athletes, Antônio Carlos Gomes named members of the Russian women's 4x400 meters relay team.
“But I think Yelena Ininbayeva is the best of them all. It would be absolutely great if she could come to Rio,” he added.