On Monday the IOC released a statement, revealing that President Thomas Bach and member Kirsty Coventry had dinner with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. The news comes after Peng spoke with French newspaper L’Equipe, once again denying that she made claims of sexual assault and announcing her retirement from tennis.
In the statement, the IOC did not address the sexual assault claims or Peng’s subsequent disappearance.
At the dinner, Peng informed Bach that she “would attend several events at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 over the coming days.” Peng and Coventry then attended the mixed curling match between China and Norway.
“During the dinner, the three spoke about their common experience as athletes at the Olympic Games, and Peng Shuai spoke of her disappointment at not being able to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the IOC wrote. “In this context, she also shared her intention to travel to Europe when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and the IOC President invited her to Lausanne to visit the IOC and The Olympic Museum, to continue the conversation on their Olympic experiences. Peng Shuai accepted this invitation.”
According to the statement, Coventry and Peng also agreed to remain in contact with one another. Any further communication about what went on in the meeting will be left up to Peng’s discretion.
They also revealed that the meeting was part of a series of telephone conversations that the IOC had with Peng that began on November 21.
WTA Chairman & CEO Steve Simon addressed Peng’s Olympic outing and interview Monday, stating that her conversation with L’Equipe does not elevate the WTA’s concerns around the tennis star’s initial claims of sexual abuse.
“To reiterate our view, Peng took a bold step in publicly coming forth with the accusation that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Chinese government leader,” said Simon, “As we would do with any of our players globally, we have called for a formal investigation into the allegations by the appropriate authorities and an opportunity for the WTA to meet with Peng – privately – to discuss her situation.”