Ironically, Russia’s only athlete in the track and field at these Olympics is a competitor in one of the few events Australia is considered a strong and legitimate medal chance, with Victorian Brooke Stratton having jumped two of the best four jumps this year.
The high-profile Russian, who is also a sought-after model, is surrounded by heavy security and warnings to visitors to keep their distance from her.
Klishina was approved to compete as a neutral athlete when it appeared the Russians would en masse be banned from the games but now will now compete under the Russian banner as the only track and field athlete.
Her coach, Loren Seagrave, who has a long history with Australian athletics and was on the short list to be Australia’s latest head coach, said Klishina now appeared likely to compete as a Russian.
“I still don’t know exactly what will happen but the Russian Olympic Committee has entered her. We feel fairly certain that she will compete in a Russian uniform. And if she’s fortunate enough to win a medal I strongly imagine that they will raise the Russian flag.
“All of our dealings have been through the Russian Olympic Committee.”
He said Klishina had handled the extraordinary world attention well.
“She’s keeping the blinders on and staying focused. That’s basically been the plan all the way through, just don’t let all the other stuff get in the way,” said Seagrave, who is the director of the IMG academy and has previously been head conditioning coach of NFL franchise Atlanta Flacons.
“She’s in great shape. The situation is, and this is on the public record, she’s had three competitions. She jumped in Russia in June at the Brothers Znamensky meet in Zhukovsky. There was another competition on the 11th and then we went back to the national championships 10 days later in Cheboksary.
“She won all three of those competitions and jumped 6.84 during the national championships.
“She is competition-ready. She opted not to petition to compete at the European championships so she could better prepare for the Olympics.”
Klishina, like the Australian athletics team, does not plan to march in the opening ceremony but instead will still be in Bradenton and arrive in Rio closer to the start of the athletics competition.
“We’re timing departures so they arrive (in Rio) several days before,” said Seagrave.
Klishina was the subject of backlash in Russia for being prepared to compete as an independent but that is likely to dissipate now that much of the rest of the Russian team is there and she is competing as a Russian.
Seagrave said her situation as a Russian living overseas made her case clear.
“The IAAF came up with a criteria which shows that as long as an athlete has not been in the system for a long period of time and was subjected to the same rigours (of testing) that all of the other athletes were in the world relative to WADA or IAAF testing (they could compete).”
Seagrave, who has worked with Olympic 100m champion and one time world record holder Donovan Bailey, has a long relationship with Australia having worked with Phil King ahead of the Atlanta Olympics, Australia’s head coach Craig Hilliard and sprint coach Matt Beckenham.