Tokyo 2020 postponement is 'God's punishment' for the ban on Russian athletes, says former Olympic champion Svetlana Khorkina

Svetlana Khorkina has sent a message to the IOC (PA Images)
16:42pm, Thu 26 Mar 2020
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Former Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina says the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games due to coronavirus is "God's punishment" for the Olympic ban on her country's athletes.

The International Olympic Committee banned all Russian athletes from this years Games after the country was handed a four year-suspension from all sport worldwide due to widespread doping violations.

The 41 year-old nine-time world champion told Russian Sports Express: "I think this all happened because they shouldn’t have offended Russia, including our athletes.

"There is a reason why there is a line in our national anthem that says our land is protected by the Lord.

"It was unnecessary to start this political show when such a deadly virus is being spread all over the world.

"I think this was God’s punishment."

Khorkina won gold in the uneven bars at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and successfully defended her title in Sydney four years later.