IOC chief duped into praying to fake saints

Thomas Bach implored the nonexistent saints Vovan and Lexus to disrupt the World Friendship Games in Russia

IOC chief duped into praying to fake saints

Thomas Bach was convinced to offer a prayer to Vovan and Lexus during a video call with the notorious Russian pranksters

Two Russian pranksters have tricked International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach into praying to the nonexistent ‘saints Vovan and Lexus,’ for divine assistance disrupting the upcoming World Friendship Games in Russia.

On Thursday, Vovan and Lexus, the stage names of pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Aleksey Stolyarov, – published a recording of a video call they had with Bach and European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas.

Disguised as a senior African official, Lexus is seen discussing the Friendship Games with Bach and Schinas. The IOC chief pushed for both the African Union and the European Union to speak out against what he described as “the politicization of sport” by Russia. 

The ‘African official’ then told the pair that his country was celebrating a holiday dedicated to ‘Saints Vovan and Lexus’ and asked them to pray along with him.

“I’m addressing to you, God, to help me! Help me to make the right decision! Saints Vovan and Lexus, help me to take the right decision to prevent these Friendship Games,” the prankster exclaimed, followed by Bach and Schinas, who placed their hands on their hearts and took turns saying a prayer to the pranksters.

“Perfect! Now that we have divine inspiration, nothing can go wrong!” Schinas joyously summed up.

However, the ‘African politician’ then unexpectedly accused the officials of coercion.

“It was hard to me to make this decision. But I do not agree personally. I can’t make a decision without this,” the prankster said, pouring vodka into a glass, and adding “I think it is unfair that you are trying to put me on your side.”

He then introduced his “friends” – Yorick’s skeleton and a Cheburashka toy – to the distractedly smiling Bach and Schinas.

In a post on Telegram, the pranksters wrote in the caption to the video recording that Bach and Schinas “are ready to pray to any gods just to mess with Russia and ensure that none of the foreign athletes attend the Friendship Games.” 

The World Friendship Games, first held in 2022, were designed as an alternative to the Olympics after Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from various international tournaments due to the Ukraine conflict.

This year, the games are set to be held in Moscow and Ekaterinburg on September 15-29, and will include competitions in 33 summer sports, including Olympic and non-Olympic events.