The athletes of the U.S. Biathlon Team announced today that they will not participate in the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup Biathlon Final in Tyumen, Russia, scheduled for March 19-26, and have released the following statement:
“The IBU’s recent decision to move forward with the World Cup Final in Tyumen, Russia is completely unacceptable. In support of clean sport and our own physical safety, we cannot in good conscience participate.
“The outcry from our fellow athletes from around the world has been respectful, strong and definitive. In addition to the dozens who expressed their opinion to the IBU Athletes Committee members ahead of the meeting in January 2018, the IBU received letters representing over 30 athletes, from eight countries, and included three 2018 Olympic Champions.
“The message from the athletes was clear. With Russia still being out of compliance with the WADA Code, with threats of physical harm to athletes who travel to Russia, with six athletes already sanctioned by IBU and the IOC from the 2014 Olympic season and another case awaiting a decision, holding the World Cup Final in Russia now sends an outrageous message of anti-doping indifference to the world.
“We fully support the right of clean Russian athletes to compete and share the opinion that Russia should be eligible to host IBU World Cups in the future; but only after they have shown a meaningful commitment to rectifying the doping culture which has been shown to exist there.
“We believe the overwhelming majority of IBU World Cup biathletes choose to compete clean. We stand united in the protection of every athlete’s fundamental right to participate in doping-free sport and will bear any burden to promote fairness, equality and health for athletes worldwide.”