According to Reuters, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said in a virtual new conference on Wednesday that weightlifting could potentially lose its spot at future Olympic Games.
The consideration for weightlifting’s removal is due to the findings of corruption surrounding the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and their former President Tamas Aján in the McLaren report. Professor Richard McLaren was hired to lead the investigation following allegations made against Aján and the IWF in the German documentary The Lord of the Lifters.
The report determined that Aján had committed extensive financial corruption to the tune of $10.4 million unaccounted for, coordinated election fraud which included vote buying, and covering up doping offenses. No charges have yet been brought against Aján.
The documentary accused the Hungarian National Anti-Doping Agency (HUNADO) of doping manipulation, but the McLaren report exonerated them.
The decision to keep weightlifting on the program at the Olympic Games or not will be determined by future investigations’ findings of any further corruption.
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“We are deeply concerned and shocked by this report and the scope of these activities being reflected in this report with regard to anti-doping and governance,” said Bach. “We made it very clear depending on the results of the findings of the IWF oversight commission… that we reserve the right for very far-reaching measures including but not limited to the question of weightlifting being on the program of the Olympic Games.”
The IWF shared a press release yesterday that shows interim IWF President Ursula Garza-Papandrea has taken first steps towards the governance corrections that need to be made, noting,
“Our desire to uncover truth means we must now acknowledge and address the known. The findings also afford the IWF the opportunity to rebuild and reform the organization. This is not an option but an absolute necessity.”
Bach went further in the news conference stating:
What we can say now is we will fully support the new leadership of IWF… to reform the governance of the federation and also in efforts to make the anti-doping system fully independent from the federation. The major steps have been done.
As further investigations remain ongoing, IWF officials who are implicated will not be granted any accreditation for the Tokyo Olympics by the IOC.
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