When it was revealed, somewhat surprisingly, on the eve of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) election in 2015 that Russia were backing Sebastian Coe rather than his rival Sergey Bubka to replace Lamine Diack as the world governing body's new President, they could surely never have imagined they would spend most of the Briton's first term banned from the sport.
The decision by the IAAF Council in Monte Carlo on Tuesday (December 4) to extend for a ninth time a ban first imposed on Russia in November 2015 following allegations of state-sponsored doping in a report published by Richard Pound, the former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, raises the very real possibility that the country's team could again be absent at the World Championships in Doha next September and October.
How the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) must now regret backing Coe over Bubka, under whom this whole crisis would undoubtedly have panned out very differently.
The strong position Coe and the IAAF has adopted on Russia has allowed the double Olympic 1,500 metres champion to rebuild his reputation following an extremely shaky start as IAAF President.
I was told that in the first few months of winning the position he seriously wondered if he had done the right thing. He was under assault for his links to American sportswear giant Nike, his failure to act sooner on accusations of systematic drug taking in athletics when he was vice-president of the IAAF and allegations that Papa Massata Diack, the son of his disgraced former predecessor, had helped his election campaign.
Those of us who followed his career on the track, though, never doubted he would find a way to see it through.
Each time the IAAF Council have refused to back down in the face of increasing pressure and reinstate Russia, like the International Olympic Committee did with indecent haste after Pyeongchang 2018 and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did without their own roadmap being followed, Coe's position has looked a little bit stronger.
"IAAF again lead way against doping by upholding ban on Russian athletes," read the headline in British tabloid The Daily Mail, who have been Coe's most persistent critic since he was elected President in August 2015.
Coe's status will probably never be as high again as it was immediately after London 2012 when, as chairman, he had helped deliver one of the most successful Olympic Games in history.
But to observe him in the corridor and bar of the Le Méridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo during two-days of IAAF Council meetings was to watch a man who has the total respect and support of the sport he is serving.
That includes the athletes at a time when some are trying to lead a rebellion at WADA or, like in swimming, are suing their own Federation.
Coe attended a meeting of some of athletics' leading stars during the IAAF Council meeting and saw for himself how much they wanted the suspension on Russia maintained. When it came to Russia, the atmosphere was "toxic - they just don't want them back yet," he told me afterwards.
It was something he alluded to during his speech at the Grimaldi Forum when presenting the IAAF Athletics Awards. "You are the beginning and the end of what we do, and when I survey the global landscape of sport this year this has not been obviously apparent," he told those sat in the audience. "In this sport, we do more than pay lip service."
Coe still has his critics - one only has to look at social media to see that - but in Monte Carlo he seemed to have back the confident swagger he did when he was organising London 2012 or, going even further back, to when he was the best middle-distance runner in the world and, on his day, unbeatable.
In athletics, at least, Russia are set to find themselves out in the cold for a while yet. Their reinstatement is dependent on access to the Moscow Laboratory being granted by the December 31 deadline set by WADA. Even then the IAAF will want to carry out a comprehensive review of the information they receive before considering whether to lift their ban.
That is set to take several months and seems unlikely to be completed by the time of the next Council meeting set for the beginning of the March, potentially postponing a decision until the eve of the start of the World Championships in September.
The fact that the IAAF are adopting such a hard-line on Russia is no surprise seeing the Norwegian Rune Andersen has been heading their Taskforce since it was established following the decision to suspend the RusAF.
Andersen is a close confidant of Linda Helleland, Norway's Minister of Children and Equality, but better known as the controversial vice-president of WADA who has mostly stood alone against the campaign to have Russia reinstated.
Andersen and Helleland, along with former Premier League footballer Jan Åge Fjørtoft, who is now the Norwegian Minister's special adviser, can usually be found together at WADA meetings.
Another potential obstacle to the reinstatement of RusAF is their ability to repay the money the IAAF are demanding to cover the covers of the Taskforce they had to set-up and other legal costs they have incurred during this process.
RusAF President Dmitry Shlyakhtin revealed they have asked the IAAF to pay them back in installments. The last time the IAAF added up what they are owed it came to $2.7 million (£2.1 million/€2.4 million). That figure, though, could increase dramatically if RusAF carry through a threat to take the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have the suspension lifted.
Such a move can surely only end in failure and hand Coe another easy PR victory.
Talking of PR, surely an own goal was scored by whoever decided at the British Sports Journalists' Association this week to honour Olympic and World Championship 400m gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu at its annual prize-giving ceremony by giving her "The National Lottery Spirit of Sport Award".
According to the citation, the award "recognises outstanding performers who prove themselves to be role models in life as well as sport".
The British media have, rightly, been among the biggest critics of Russia and done much to help expose the extent of the doping problem there.
So I can just but imagine the reaction among some of my colleagues if a Russian who served a year's ban for missing three drugs tests was later given an award in Moscow for being a "role model".