Monday, 1 August 2016

Putin's Poodles--Vlad the Impaler Wins Again

The Mobsters, The Rackets, and the IOC

International sport is up to its neck in the proverbial, it would seem.  Firstly, there is the now open secret that Russia, under the direction of its government, has systematically doped up its athletes, and conspired to cover it over with faux drug testing.  The secret intelligence services have been involved, revealing just how much the Russian regime views this as a form of warfare.

Secondly, there is the widespread view that Russia, while utterly and cravenly complicit in cheating (for national "honour") is not alone, but many other nations engage systematically in doping up their athletes.  No-one appears to be challenging this as an untruth.  Then there is the Russian bribery of the International Olympic Committee to ensure the IOC sniffs just a little, and looks the other way.

As a consequence we have lost what little interest we had in the Olympics.  But grim realism acknowledges that there will be no changes of any substance.  The IOC is as corrupt as Sepp Blatter and its patron, Vlad the Impaler, it would seem.  The only thing that will bring rogue states like Russia and the IOC itself to heel is a universal "turnoff" from the Olympics, the IOC, and the Olympic "movement".

This would be very easy to do.
 Given the IOC and member state corruption it is reasonable to assume that whoever wins any event, or finishes on the podium at the Olympics, has done so because they have taken drugs to enhance their performance.  Therefore, all podium presentations should be roundly booed by all spectators, and those "medalling" be vilified as cheats.  Since doping is so widespread, it would be  a reasonable inference and an appropriate response, non?

What event is on today?  Ah, the two hundred meters.  Doubtless Usain Bolt will win it.  Thereby he will prove himself to be a drug cheat.  Boo him roundly.

Paul Hayward, writing in the Daily Telegraph explains how craven and complicit the IOC is in this mess.

Russian doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova. Photo / AP
Russian doping whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova. Photo / AP
They were searching for a way not to throw Russia out of the Olympics - and they found one, dumping the decision on the individual sports and banning a Russian whistleblower while also inviting her to Rio as a special guest. The white flag of capitulation flies over the International Olympic Committee.

Russia's deep political reach should have told us this would happen. The buddy-act between Vladimir Putin and the IOC president, Thomas Bach, is indicative of a much greater distortion in world sport, which the Russians have used to their advantage.  External pressure to do with global politics and sport's utter subservience to money was always going to shape the IOC's thinking when it came to the era-defining decision on whether to cast Russia out.

In the end they came up with a feeble compromise, dropping moral responsibility from a great height on individual federations, who have 12 days to run through the legal minefield of considering each Russian case.  Many will lack the staff, legal-back up and resolve to deal with this legal landslide before the Rio opening ceremony.

Hiding behind the right of individual athletes not to be lumbered with collective responsibility for a state sponsored doping programme, the IOC want us to believe they have defended due process against the mob.  They have done nothing of the sort - and the clue is Yuliya Stepanova, who turned whistleblower on doping in Russian track and field but has been told she cannot compete in Rio, unlike dozens of other cheats who will hope that stressed international federations run out of time to properly decide their faith. . . .

The real reason is that the IOC backed away from Russian power and influence, and took a gamble on their global audience not backing away in turn in disgust. Again, Russia is not the only country where doping is widespread. It is, however, the only nation we know of where ministers, administrators, secret service agents, athletes and coaches have conspired to defraud international sport on a scale that makes the East German model of the 1970s look miniscule.

'State sponsored' is the phrase to keep in mind, because this is the element that moves a doping scandal to a different level; one where a whole country becomes complicit and therefore ineligible to compete. With their disingenuous emphasis on individual rights, the IOC hoped we would forget that Russian cheating appears to be a political policy, like road building or defence.  The contradictions are legion. Arbitrarily, the IOC have banned Russian athletes who have served a doping ban, "even of he or she has served a sanction," but will allow convicted cheats from other countries to line-up.

Often the cry will go up in Rio, louder than ever: what are we watching, what kind of fraud of this?

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