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The New Olympics: Graveyard of Second Chances

Rio Olympic flame
Rio Olympic flame

The Olympic Games were just invalidated because of unsportsmanlike western leadership. The unprecedented move to ban Russia’s track and field team from the Rio Olympics is the latest debacle in a new type of warfare. The International Olympic Committee has now backed the play of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to bar the whole Russia team. This is a final clarification of just how desperate western leaders are to subdue Russia. We of the world must now question who is cheating, and where the moral high ground lies.

"I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating. --- Sophocles --- "

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the most recent decision unfair. The Russian president further stated:

"There are universally recognized principles of law and one of them is that the responsibility should be always personified. These people who have nothing to do with violations, why should they suffer for those who committed the violations?”

Mr. Putin’s statements strike at the core of what is wrong with this most recent World Anti-Doping Association (Wada)  trashing of dozens of world class athletes. Even if Russian officials were involved in doping schemes, and there is little evidence of state involvement, the say so of Grigory Rodchenkov, the man who ran Russia’s anti-doping labs, is simply not enough evidence. Without getting into the deep discussion on allegations, at least one truth of this doping scandal can be easily revealed here. The banning is a political move, a form of sanction on Russia and Vladimir Putin. We are seeing the crooked offering to teach us fairness, by being unfair. We must now question when our institutions will again lead us. 

“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” – Knute Rockne

Sebastian Coe at a 2014 IAAF Council Meeting

Top Down Dirty

IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe has just proclaimed the “Russia ban” from Rio is “not political”, but it most certainly is. Even if we brush aside the recent revelation that Coe became the head of the IAAF largely because of a known doping criminal, Papa Massata Diack, now wanted by Interpol, the “investigators” on this Russia case are even more suspect. Secondly, Russophobes and the western media cohort are already rationalizing the “sanction”. New York Times writer Andrew E. Kramer is grinding his Putin hating teeth in glee, has already fueled the hate fires. “Olympic Ban Adds to Russia’s Culture of Grievances”,  is his latest flip in the face aimed at supporting what Barack Obama & Co. started just before the Sochi Olympics. Kramer paints Russia as paranoid over the reality, but let’s look at doping in general, in order to glean some clear reality. Anyone who is fair, has already admitted to themself, the utter unfairness of this war on Russia. 

"No matter how corrupt and unjust a convict may be, he loves fairness more than anything else. If the people placed over him are unfair, from year to year he lapses into an embittered state characterized by an extreme lack of faith." --- Anton Chekhov ---

2016 Summer OlympicsI remember the biggest scandal ever involving doping and American athletes, the 1983 Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela saw more than dozen Americans drop out and head home to avoid being caught dirty. And it took me all of 20 seconds to find a similar case where widespread sport doping was found out in the United States. I’ll admit I had never heard of the BALCO Scandal, other than a few news snippets involving Major League Baseball great, Barry Bonds. But when I learned of the real depth of the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative) doping system in place in my own country, today’s decision drew to a sharper focus. For those unfamiliar, BALCO led Federal investigators to dozens of world class American athletes using a substance that became known as “The Clear”, across the sports landscape.

Olympic athletes, boxers, Major League Baseball stars, National Football League players, cyclists, and even the US Olympic Judo Team were either involved, or implicated. In the end the BALCO Scandal showed the deep seeded invalidity of today’s sport, but few truly understood. Cover-ups, convictions, suspended sentences, and the resounding sound of a slap on America’s sporting wrists is all that came of it. There were no calls for banning America from world sports, the Olympics went on, but nobody seems to have EVER asked the question; “Who else was on The Clear?” In 2007, when the DEA announced the largest steroid enforcement action in US history, everybody knew America and sport had a big problem. Federal agents uncovered a massive network of illegal banned substances that supplied millions of Americans with various types of steroids, but amazingly the case never provoked international scandal like the Russian lab has. Operation “Raw Deal”, which involved cases from Southern California to Delaware, should have led to a complete overhaul of all sport, but it did not. Sport was once pure, a demonstration of our humanity, now it is something else. 

"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others." --- Albert Schweitzer ---

 American athlete Marion Jones won big at Sydney, then lost all over steroid usage

Then this report in the Sunday Times points to a much deeper problem than simply a bad lab in Russia. What we see developing now is more likely a International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) and WADA effort to divert attention from their ineffectiveness, in effect throwing the Russians under the proverbial bus. And at the time of the Sunday Times revelation, the IAAF tried to gag the reporters from spilling the whole can of beans on the agency’s failures. The widespread development, distribution, and use of so-called “designer anabolic steroids” like The Clear (Tetrahydrogestrinon), led to the passage of the “Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014”. It is interesting to note, it was President Barack Obama who signed the bill curtailing the development and distribution of a drug that more than 10 million Americans use on a daily basis. But here is what is most significant about the timeliness of this law. DASCA 2014 gives the widest latitude possible to federal prosecutors for “defining” what constitutes a designer or other anabolic steroid. The bill was written right after the Sochi Olympics, an Olympics Obama and the west did their dead level best to destroy even before they began. Laws must always seek the moral high ground, but when there are no morals behind...

"Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts." --- Aristotle ---

So I contend DASCA 2014 was intended to rapidly “clean up” American sports, so that the anti-doping scandal we see today would not involve Americans. But American sport has been tarnished even more than Russian sport, where using drugs to win counts. With this most recent ban in focus, DASCA sent one message – “stay clean right now, all hell is about to break loose”. But the sports enhancement community went nuts, and sometimes for the right reasons. This Tiger Fitness piece is one of hundreds that condemned the law, but no one I have found really understood the implications of this move. DASCA 2014 provides a massive loop hole so that American athletes can avoid being banned for doping before 2014. The law is a legal precedent for athletes to “claim” they ingested banned substances illegally included in food supplements. This Consumer Healthcare Products Association statement after Obama signed the law, it clues us. I’ll let the reader think about all this now. 

"I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I Love to play." --- Boris Becker ---

All Out War Sport

From a statistical point of view, there is no way in hell any person or nation could be guilty of so much as Russia and Putin are accused of. Kramer and the New York Times board know the pulse of good people is going to accelerate over this banning. Russia as “probably” the world’s greatest evil, it simply won’t fly any more. America’s sports industry has now been covered by Barack Obama’s administration, at least for the period leading up to the 2000 Olympics until Sochi. And Sochi and Euromaidan are the point where the west decided to go “all in” against Russia. Now that we know conspiracies are the norm, it is not hard to put 2+2 together. DASCA created a get-out-of-jail-free card for Americans the Russians or other interested parties might reveal for doping. It is a kind of centerpiece for a new asymmetrical war being waged. I don’t believe in coincidences. There is cause, and there is effect, and the cause of the downfall of Olympic and professional sports is greed, followed by hapless leadership. Think about Sebastian Coe heading the London Olympics, then the IAAF that is banning Russia, right after being implicated as being in cahoots with cheaters! Look at WADA’s president, Sir Craig Reedie is not only a Vice President of the IOC now, he was a principal and investment banking adviser to D.L.Bloomer Ltd., a highly profitable investment counseling firm heavily vested in sports business while Reedie was involved. Searching his web footprint turns up countless sports business and performance connections such as these at the World Sport and Business Summit. But, like most IOC officials, his business dealings are fairly obscured. Just where his fish and chips money comes from, is not altogether clear these days. Sebastien Coe was a great athlete, only to succumb to a common misconception. 

“We make too much of winning. The mere fact of winning doesn't make you great.” --- NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain ---

Olympic Champion 800 meters runner Mariya Savinova

Turning to the Russia scandal, we now find Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova applying to compete in Rio under the IOC banner instead of Russia’s. The Olympic runner, who with her husband provided “evidence” to a German media group on alleged state sponsored doping, she’s now under WADA’s wing for Rio 2016. This USA Today story paints her as the heroine of world doping super-heroes now. And the New York Times is lobbying to see she competes as well. Dionne Koller’s piece even has a special graphic resembling the “Olympic Doping Champion” in full stride. Of note here is Stepanova’s actual status among marquee Russian and world 800 meter women’s runners. With the ban on Russian athletes in effect, the legitimate world record holder and London Olympics gold medalist, Mariya Savinova will be out of the Rio Race. It is interesting that amid a torrent of allegations that Savinova ran dirty in London that her world record still stands. What is justice if condemnation arrives on a lack of proof?

"Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace." --- Dwight D. Eisenhower ---

Yelena Isinbayev

Finally Good Sports

Maybe Russian gold medalist pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva captures the indecency of this Russia ban best, in calling it a “human rights violation”. For, if there is one Russian athlete who will be done devastating harm with this ban, it will be Isinbayeva. Interestingly, in a note of true sportsmanship and class, American Jenn Suhr has told the press she wants the Russians in the Olympics. Suhr, who is virtually assured a gold medal if Isinbayeva does not compete. She told reporters the other day: “If you’re going to have an Olympic final, you’re going to want Jenn in there and you’re going to want Yelena Isinbayeva in there. It’s the Ali-Frazier” of pole vaulting.” I say, "Let them do their best, and then measure the fairness."

“I didn’t set out to beat the world; I just set out to do my absolute best.” --- Discus legend Al Oerter ----

The god of modern Olympic competition, 4 time Olympic champion Al Orter

True champions aside, we must remember, that this is war. Logic and good sportsmanship has no place any more. While the number of Russian athletes who have been penalized for alleged doping is high (92), Americans (56) are running close race. With most other nations only seemingly “playing” at doping comparatively, we see a fight that mirrors the new Cold War engagement in geo-politics here. With the UK playing the biased referee, the Olympics has become perhaps the most dastardly political weapon ever. If only Hitler had thought of banning America in 1936, then Jesse Owens could not have gone down in history. Let them run. 

"I have always liked sport and only played or ran races for the fun of the thing." --- Jim Thorpe, the man proclaimed the world's greatest athlete ---

7 time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong disgraced himself and all of sport

I am no fan of cheaters, but even the worst of them should be allowed to try and win. For this is how true champions are measured, in winning against all odds. Rio should see the most stringent testing ever, but all comers should be allowed to participate as always. The way to shame a cheater is to catch him in the act, in front of the crowd. What the International Association of Athletics Federation is doing to sport is incomprehensible, idiotic, and low class. If there is a test for illegal substances, give it at the finish line, not before the starting gun. Of course, testing of athletes during training is absolutely necessary. Enhancement by drugs can aid in building strengths and stamina. But snap testing and random scrutiny are the proven methods of deterring doping beforehand. When the Olympics do not afford a second chance, humanity is all done. 

"America is the land of the second chance - and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life." --- George W. Bush ---

In perhaps the greatest Olympic moment of all time, British Athlete Derek Redmond is helped to finish by his father - This is the Olympic spirit being murdered by politicians

The point here is, this ban has little to do with preventing doping, and everything to do with punishing Putin and Russia for standing in the way. The entirety of sport has been suspect for decades now. This is the reality. Barry Bonds beats Hank Aaron’s homerun record using drugs. NFL football star Lyle Alzado dies of brain cancer for his abuse of steroids. Lance Armstrong ruins his life, and the sport of cycling by stealing the Tour de France using drugs. Betting scandals, hurting players for pay in “Bountygate”, the Super Bowl "Deflategate" idiocy,  the FIFA corruption saga, and the more recent Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fiasco paint the corners of an athletics canvas littered with shameful fouls. And dozens of respectable, clear, and determined Russian athletes benched for the sake of a new Cold War? What part of excellence is all this?

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." --- Vince Lombardi ---

The "road" for Usain Bolt is paved with struggle and sacrifice, and with these medals his mom sent him recently - Usain's Facebook

In conclusion, these officials mean to tell us that all the hundreds of billions flowing in and out of sport these days cannot guarantee a clean victory! I read in a track & field journal early this morning how the phenomenal sprinter Usain Bolt is the “cleanest” competitor in the sport. I have no doubts he is, and yes, I am a fan. But the reason we know Bolt is clean is because he is scrutinized more than any athlete on Earth. And this goes to my point. It costs money to observe these athletes, so maybe more needs to be spent researching and discovering cheating, rather than discussing and creating bureaucracies to use as political levers. I find it interesting that some Russian athletes accused of doping, still retain their medals for London, Beijing, and even Sochi. This warns me that the research may not be there, and the proof certainly isn’t. Mr. Putin said this ban is unfair. I say it is a big cheat.