He pointed out that while the entire doping scandal does appear rather comical, the fact that Russian athletes who were never exposed as doping users were prohibited from competing in 2016 Olympic Games simply due to claims pressed by WADA turns it into a tragedy.
He argued that from a legal standpoint, the decision to ban Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics wasn’t backed by any proof, and was made in accordance with ‘the we do as we’ve been told’ principle.
"I’m no lawyer, but this decision does appear strange. It may be eventually overruled by some court, but by then the (2016) Olympic Games will be over, and these athletes won’t be able to participate. And I don’t even want to talk about the legal framework: the athletes were tried in absence of a court, proof or ability to defend themselves," Popovich concluded.
He also remarked that while the rule that bans athletes caught using doping from competing in Olympic Games does seem like a good idea, for some reason it is apparently only applied to Russians, while, for example, US athletes like Michael Phelps or sprinters who were caught using banned chemical compounds appear to be exempt from it.
"So what’s the difference between them? The difference is that Americans are from the US and Russians are from Russia. It’s all politically motivated… In theory, politics and sports should be separated from one another, but as we can see with IOC, it’s exactly the opposite," Popovich lamented.