The Russian flag will be flying at the Summer Olympics, after all, as the International Olympic Committee decided Sunday that athletes from the nation mired in an ongoing drug scandal will be allowed to compete on the sporting world’s largest stage next month in Rio de Janeiro.
Less than two weeks before the start of the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee ruled against barring Russia from the Summer Olympics but did approve measures that could reduce the number of Russian athletes participating.
Here is how sports, business and "friendship" mix in Bach´s world:
Bach has been a regular visitor to Russia in his three years as head of the IOC, both before and after the Sochi Olympics. Putin has also shown himself willing to travel to improve contacts with the IOC, giving a well received speech in 2007 in Guatemala — delivered in English, which is rare for Putin — ahead of the vote which gave Sochi the 2014 Olympics.
Since he won Olympic gold in 1976, Bach’s chosen sport of fencing has been transformed, most recently by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a Putin ally who has pumped large sums of his own money into the sport over eight years as president of the International Fencing Federation.
That money has increased the profile of one of the more niche sports on the Olympic program, making for a bigger media presence and glitzier competitions.
Bach also has business connections in Russia. After becoming president of the IOC, he kept his other role as chairman of the supervisory board of Weinig, a Germany company which produces woodworking machinery. Weinig, which did not respond to requests for comment, has a strong presence in Russia, with a headquarters near Moscow and offices across the country.
Besides Bach, several other influential IOC members have long been sympathetic to Russia.