Politicized Olympism: Banning Russia from the 2018 Winter Games
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee. It banned Russian athletes from participating under their nation’s flag – both disgraceful actions.
An IOC statement lied claiming “systematic (Russian) manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved.”
The IOC acted despite no credible evidence of Russian state-sponsored doping. The practice exists in many sports, athletes deciding on their own to use performance-enhancing drugs.
It’s a little publicized issue in America, notably in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, including athletes taking anabolic steroids to build strength and endurance.
Reportedly, over half of NFL football players use opiates at times. In 2007, a report to the commissioner of major league baseball named 86 players using some kind of anabolic steroids, elite athletes among them.
In an earlier survey of retired NFL players, around 10% admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids – maybe many others as well, reluctant to admit it.
Should baseball, football and other sports teams be banned from league competition because some of their players used these drugs?
Sound absurd? Banning Russia from next year’s winter olympics amounts to the same thing.
Individual athletes should be held accountable for their actions, along with personal trainers or others if found to be complicit – not entire teams or nations without what’s known as evidentiary standards and burdens of proof required in credible legal proceedings.
These standards require “clear and convincing evidence,” beyond a reasonable doubt the highest evidentiary standard – due process clauses in America’s 5th and 14th amendments.
No one should be declared guilty of a crime short of adhering to this standard.
Arbitrarily banning Russia from participating in next year’s winter Olympics falls woefully short – a politicized move, unrelated to legal standards.
It has everything to do with irresponsible Russia bashing, sponsored by Washington.
Were dark US forces behind imposing collective punishment on Moscow – exceeding the banning of many of its athletes from the 2016 summer Rio games, including its entire Paralympic team?
Was the action warranted because of doping violations by a few athletes? Of course not!
Actions against Russia last year re the Rio games were illegal, immoral and unethical, flagrantly violating the letter and principles of the Olympic Charter, stating:
The IOC’s mission “is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement.”
It’s about “encourag(ing) and support(ing) the organization, (including) development and coordination of sport
and sports competitions.”
It oppose(s) any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes.”
The Charter’s high-minded laundry list conceals Olympism reality. The Olympic movement is more about big business, profiteering, corruption, politics, spectacle, and exploitation than amateur athletics at their best – unrelated to good will, open competition and fair play.
It features scandalous wheeling, dealing, collusion, and bribery, turning sport into a commercial grab-bag free-for-all, along with unprincipled politicization – dark forces in Washington pulling the strings behind the scenes, supported by other Western states, partners in crimes, including the corruption of Olympism.
Last year ahead of the Rio games, a well-orchestrated anti-Russia campaign preceded competition, America’s dirty hands involved, repeated again to ban Russia from next year’s winter games – sinking Olympism to a new low, delegitimizing the movement.
What amateur athletics should be all about is absent. When politics and profiteering override sports, legitimate competition no longer exists – politicized tragedy, farce and disgrace replacing it.
Note: Russian athletes proving they’re “clean” from doping may compete next year – not under the Russian flag, not as a Russian team member, banned from representing their country.
Noted figure skating trainer Tatyana Tarasova called the IOC’s decision “the murder of our national sport.”
It exposed Olympism’s dark side, its debauched state.
A Final Comment
Along with designated Russian athletes barred from Olympic competition in 2018 or for life, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko and his deputy Yuri Nagornykh were banned for life.
Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov was suspended as an IOC member.
Former Russian Sochi Olympics CEO Dmitry Chernyshenk was removed from the commission coordinating the 2022 Beijing games.
Russian officials won’t receive accreditation for the 2018 winter Olympics.
Moscow was ordered to reimburse the IOC for its witch-hunt investigation into alleged doping of its athletes.
In 2016, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report claimed over 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping – credible evidence proving the allegation not provided.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”