IOC not acting Faster-Higher-Stronger

on July 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

Normally people look forward to the end of the week and get excited about the fun they are about to embark on. I thought I was one of those people as well. I was looking forward to enjoying an adult beverage or two (yes, dear editor, I said only two) on the patio of my local pub. But the sports world has got me a little upset this week, just as I last week when I posted my Stop feeding the hate article. So please allow me a moment to get this out of my system and I promise to end it on a positive note. But first, what’s up with the IOC and Russia these days?

The Track and Field team from Russia was banned when it was revealed there has been rampant state-run doping of its athletes. Russia did appeal, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the ban and therefore they will not compete at the Rio Olympics. The IOC was aware that these allegations involved more than just the track and field team and yet nothing was forcibly done until Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was asked to look into the issue by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). He found that not only did the anti-doping lab cover up violations in “virtually all sports” since at least 2011, but that it also went as high up as the Russian Deputy Minister of Sport. It is hard to imagine that President Vladimir Putin was not aware of this, yet there is no concrete evidence indicating he was aware.

Now the report itself isn’t a judge or jury and we shouldn’t be quick to condemn, but with the Olympics just two weeks away the IOC should have acted Faster in pursuit of this. With the amount of corruption that has been associated with the IOC over the years, here was an opportunity to raise their status Higher but they fell well short of the mark. IOC President Thomas Bach needed to be Stronger to show the world that the IOC will not stand for these atrocities any longer.

So my anger is that again time is being wasted as days have passed since this report and still nothing has been said by the IOC. If they are really interested in making things right than they should have, unfortunately mind you, immediately banned all Russian athletes from the Olympics. This is not to punish those athletes but to give them the best chance at a fair trial. By immediately banning the athletes, they not only send a strong statement saying that the IOC will not accept any level of cheating even if it comes from Russia, one of the most storied and powerful Olympic countries. More importantly, it gives the Russians time to form an appeal and a proper defence. The matter should be decided in a court (not of law mind you, but that of the Arbitration for Sport) and the more time the IOC wastes, the less fair the process appears.

Canadian Sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Decades later we have found that almost all of his competitors that day, including main rival Carl Lewis had also taken performance enhancing drugs. Only Johnson was caught and therefore only he endured the punishment and ridicule that came with it. This is not being said to generate sympathy for Johnson, far from it, it is to say that just because everyone else is cheating, it still doesn’t make it right for you to cheat. So get off your batushka’s IOC and get this process in motion. Even if the courts rule in favour of Russia that is fine, at least you are showing the world that you were not afraid to take the proper course of action.

Speaking of proper course of action, it was a pleasant surprise to read the above tweet from the NBA. The 2017 All-Star game has been removed from the city of Charlotte for the time being because of the HB2 state law passed in March. This limits or completely removes rights from anyone within the LGBT community. By relocating the All-Star game from North Carolina, the NBA joins companies such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank who have pulled plans for expansion and Bruce Springsteen who cancelled his concert there in protest. So to all committee members of the IOC, take a look at how things are done. Thanks again NBA for doing the right thing and letting me be happy as I enjoy that cold, refreshing beverage (only 2 boss, I swear) on this hot, summer day.

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