IOC seeks explanation of member's comments about Williams sisters

Monday October 20th, 2014

The International Olympic Committee is asking Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev for a "full explanation" of his comments about Venus and Serena Williams that led to him being fined and suspended by the Women’s Tennis Association, the Associated Press reports.

Tarpischev, who has been an IOC member since 1994, was fined $25,000 and suspended from the WTA Tour for a year after calling the Williams sisters "brothers" and saying they were "scary" to look at on a Russian television talk show.

Serena Williams, the top-ranked player in the world, said that the comments “very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist" and compared the comments to bullying.

Tarpischev apologized saying he realized that what he said was inappropriate.

“I have the greatest admiration for the Williams sisters, who are among the greatest athletes ever to compete in our sport,” Tarpischev said in a letter published on “However, I understand now that my remarks were wrong and could be construed as discriminatory by the public. That was not my intention but I recognise that I need to make a full apology to the tennis family and especially to the Williams sisters.”

The IOC says it "will directly contact Mr. Tarpischev to ask him for a full explanation of his comments."

- Scooby Axson

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