Courage is one of the basic principles of sport and one of humanity’s important virtues.
When I emigrated from communism in 1988, I risked my life and my family’s life in order to live in a free and democratic world, where one of the supreme values is the freedom of speech and of opinion.
In this past month it was proven that in the free world there are, still, higher structures where the supreme value is SILENCE!
Given that this is the answer that I received to my declaration in Sochi and to the proposal of the 20 points agenda, regarding the reforms and benefits requested for the sport and the athletes, I decided to withdraw from SportAccord and the IOC Coordination Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, thanking all those who supported me and believed and still believe in me, in the values I proposed and I defend!
One important principle of the sport that consecrated me is HONOR. I withdraw with honor and for the honor of sport, its credibility in society, and I hope that one day sport becomes a completely transparent system, a moral code and a model for society.
Everything I proposed is right and I hope to have opened a door that had been closed for a century, and I hope it remains open forever for the benefit of sport and its values.
Today, the system working behind the doors is dictated by nobility titles or family inherited titles, or by members appointed for life and I hope that in the future, the basic criteria of the system will be dictated by the achievements in sport, professionalism, performances, fair-play, transparency and the courage to express the truth.
To those who accused me of not knowing well enough the “Olympic Movement” I can answer that I know much better than they think the international sports movement and the honor of sport, because I dedicated my entire life to sport, serving it voluntarily, by passion and love, without pecuniary advantages like others …
The part that they say I don’t know, to be honest, I don’t even want to ever know it!
It is the secret and mysterious part in the shadow of the organization of big sports events, a dirty game, with huge stakes, whose implications can be seen these days in some organizations, but at a very small scale.
What is important in this game? At one point, everybody “plays” by the “no rules“ rule!
Inside the Games initiated a voting poll giving the chance to vote on the rightfulness of the contents of my declaration from Sochi and the poll – reflecting the voice of society, the consumer of the sport values and the beneficiary of the sport events, was in my favor, with over 90%. In the “free world” this voice of society does not matter anymore?!
I would like to remind my colleagues who decided to suspend their organizations’ SportAccord membership and who chose not listening to the voice of society and continuing the fight for reforms, transparency and fair-play in sport, that in a European city there is a bridge called “Bridge of Lies” where lovers promise each other eternal love by hanging a padlock on this bridge. I have never hanged and I never will hang a padlock on this bridge for two reasons: one -honor, the other – there is no more space for padlocks!
I only have one question for my self-suspended colleagues: which proposal of the 20 points agenda that I submitted for the reform of sport did you disagree with? The prize money for athletes, the pensions for athletes, the transparency, the lack of criteria and principles of the IOC, the higher dividends for International Federations, the ownership of 50% of the Olympic TV Channel by the International Federations, with the lack of discrimination for the non-Olympic sports, with the transparency regarding the contracts and the salaries of the IOC staff and the consulting companies, with the implication of the Sport Ministries who finance your sport events and your National Federations?
And if they don’t want to answer to me, they should answer them to the National Federations and the athletes that they represent…
I love sport in all its forms, I believe in the Olympic spirit and its values but I also think that the system can be improved and that in a democratic world every person is free to express his opinions freely.
I did try to collaborate with the IOC in the 2 years of my mandate, submitting them numerous proposals for collaboration between the two organizations, but these were always rejected without any plausible explanation.
My door has always been open for collaboration, theirs was always closed!
The cancellation of the Combat Games of Lima 2018 that was meant to bring substantial benefits to sport and participating athletes, confirms the pressure that was exerted on sports and the organizers of sport events.
Hoping that the IOC system is neither a dynasty, nor a tyranny or an inquisition, I entrust its destiny in the hands of the young generations, marked by the vision of modernization of society and all its sectors.
I retire from SportAccord, with honor and respect hoping that those who really serve the sport, sincerely and in a disinterested way, will give a chance to the millions of children and young people who consider sport their only chance in life.
In life, the most dangerous and difficult battle is always that for a right cause!
In this dispute, unfortunately there is no winner party, but only one defeated –THE SPORT!
I will dedicate myself to judo, the sport which I love and that helped me become what I am today, teaching me the solid principles – courtesy, courage, sincerity, honor, modesty, respect, self-control, friendship and the code of honor that each person should adopt in life, sport which I will continue to develop with all my energy, devotion and passion.