According to a fairly insane report from the AP, a small contingent of Russian Olympians visited the base used by the Russian Air Force to launch attacks on rebels in Syria’s protracted civil war.
Yelena Isinbayeva, who holds the women’s pole vault world record along with two gold medals, was shown on Russian TV leading a morning workout for troops stationed at the Hemeimeem base.
Isinbayeva, who this month retired from competition and won election to the International Olympic Committee as an athletes’ representative, said she was proud to be at the base to boost the troops’ morale. “Everything here fills me with patriotism and pride,” she said.
The television footage showed Isinbayeva do sit-ups together with the troops and climb a rope.
The pole vaulter, who spent the night in the area, said she and other athletes were not disturbed by the roar of Russian jets taking off from the base on bombing missions.
“Every time a fighter jet took off, it was like a lullaby we had been waiting for to put us to sleep,” she said.
Isinbayeva, along with the rest of the Russian Track and Field team, was banned from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after revelations broke of an enormous state-run doping scheme.