Russian Olympic Committee president Vitaly Smirnov said...


Russian Olympic Committee president Vitaly Smirnov said the increasing tendency of big-name athletes to live outside the Olympic village was damaging the spirit of the Games.

"It is a very, very serious problem," said Smirnov, a member of the IOC for the past 25 years and executive president of the Organizing Committee for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

"I am not criticizing the existing situation because it started in Seoul, was increased in Barcelona, and from what I read in the newspapers, the Dream Team, some athletes in track and field and some gymnasts are not staying in the village."

Smirnov said that what was happening to the village was actually the kind of separation the Soviet KGB secret police wanted whenever the Soviet Union participated at the Games.

"That was the KGB dream--to have Soviet athletes and other athletes from Socialist countries apart from capitalist countries. The first time we participated in Helsinki in 1952 we had a special camp. If you think about it, the KGB dream of a separation is coming true and this is very bad for the Games."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World