Yesterday IOC President Thomas Bach, and the rest of the executive board ruled to allow clean Russian athletes to compete at the Rio Games. Ruling justly in the only sportsmanlike and humane decision possible, the Olympic leadership has now drawn the ire of corporate head-hunters who wanted Russia banned.
Punishing hundreds of athletes for the sins of a few, isn’t that idea terroristic in itself? We balk at the slightest insinuation an act of violence may be connected to ISIL or racist zeal, but then we watch as powerful forces wreak havoc in other instances. Think about this for a moment. Isn’t destroying the life of a world class competitor who has spent their whole life training for the Olympics terror? For such athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency might as well have put a pistol to their heads and pulled the trigger. Any top notch athlete reading this knows, sudden death would be infinitely preferable to the intolerable suffering of “what might have been”. But then, not everyone is on the up-and-up, and not everyone even understands athletics at this level. Today, as the collective moaning and whaling by Russophobes stuffs our ears, I want to alleviate some of the pain for good sports out there.
Has anyone read what really what was in the so-called McLaren report? I doubt anyone reading the New York Times’s has. Most readers had just as soon catch the headlines and believe. Does anyone out there realize, that a very few reporters have actually covered this case? I think most people just scan articles, and they read what they want to read. Let me give you a couple of examples of what the uninformed reader or news viewer has been up against here. There are essentially two kinds of people dead set on keeping ANY Russian athlete out of the Rio Olympics. See if you can identify examples you heard from, based on the following profiles.
Rebecca Ruiz looks as if she may have played Croquet on her grandparent’s lawn when she was a kid. The New York Times researcher and reporter went to Cornell to major in Hotel Administration, but now she is at the forefront of western media expert-ness, a diligent torch bearer for all those who seek the pinnacle of sportsmanship. She’s obviously a bright girl, a bibliophile, one of those quaint people you’d expect to find reading quietly in a great-big-library somewhere. Her Twitter profile header is a stack of books, but I know her inline skates and ski poles gather dust somewhere in a closet at her loft apartment in New York. Unless I am wrong, unless Ruiz was Cornell’s backup basketball center in college days, I’d say Olympic sport has been only something she’d been aware of, before building the case against Russian athletes for the NYT. Here’s the thing about Ruiz. On one level she should completely understand how banning a whole Russian team is the ultimate unsportsmanlike conduct.
Ruiz may not be able to hit a shuttlecock across badminton net, but she has to know what dedicating life to something means. The NYT researcher has dedicated herself to deep study, since before Cornell, I’ll wager. But I think a natural ambition is what made her fall hook-line-and-sinker for the Grigory Rodchenkov rendition of state sponsored doping in Russia. Looking at this report, the 007 James Bond spoofy nature of it, speaks to me of a reporter in search of a sensation. I wonder how many intelligent people really read “Russian Doctor Explains How He Helped Beat Doping Tests at the Sochi Olympics?”
The piece is ridiculously funny, if absorbed through a pragmatic mind that is, but as goofy and corn-ball as the NW York Times version is, this BBC Sport report is thing slapping. According to this version, an FSB spy disguises himself as a sewer maintenance worker each time the doped pee is swapped for good pee. No, I am not kidding. Instead of just bribing somebody with their own Sochi dacha, Putin had his men set up an elaborate cloak and dagger masquerade. The diagram given (see above revised by me) looks like something out of a Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible script. And the elaborate system of pee pee swapping described, through a Tom and Jerry mouse hole no less, it reminds me of the Sochi toilet scandal before the 2014 Olympics. Room 125, the “Official Urine Sample Collection Room”, has a Maxwell Smart pass through to Room 124, where FSB agents wait patiently to deliver discus thrower pee to the Kremlin. Read the story now, then pick up on your super spy shoe phone, I’ll have Vladmir Putin call you when you are done. Yes, the story is that naïve, that stupid. The biggest break in the story for anyone looking at the Putin “regime” comes at the end.
“A third of Russia’s 33 medals were awarded to athletes whose names appeared on a spreadsheet outlining the government’s doping plan.”
Now wait just a dog gone minute! The New York Times editorial board will surely fire Ruiz when they learn, the Putin they know so well allowed 22 athletes to compete clean! Yes, here is how Ruiz’s bosses characterize Vladimir:
“Syria is just one arena where Mr. Putin’s obsessive quest to make Russia great again has fueled instability and reawakened political suspicions and animosities that faded after the fall of the Soviet Union.”
Can anybody in Russia defy direct orders to DOPE issued by the modern Joseph Stalin? No, I say. The Putin western “experts” depict controls everything with an iron fist. The fact any of these people are still left alive, clean athletes including, suggests there was a mis-step in the control mechanism! But mouse holes and spy novel diagrams aside, there’s the whisky delivered – mouth swooshing of steroids by Russian athletes to consider. Sorry, I reached the pay wall of the New York Times before I could grab for you the part where Rodchenkov administered the Gold Medal Dope to athletes by giving them drugs in a dose of Chevas Regal or Martini (ladies only) to gargle with. No, I am not joking. Putin’s athletes do their best impressions of Daniel Craig and Eva Green in Casino Royale (shower scene below), according to these sports experts.
I have to leave off here, the idiotic drama gets even stickier. My point in profiling Ruiz was to suggest writers only write about what they understand, or what they are expert at. And Ruiz is not qualified to discuss sportsmanship as it applies to banning innocent athletes caught in a political war. Let’s move on.
The Bad Sports
Before the IOC rendered its decision on Sunday, RT called to ask me to comment on a report in The Times. According to the RT producer, the news from Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper in the UK used athletes and other notables to demand Russia be banned. Clearly, understandable, RT was concerned over the implications of UK media lobbying so hard against Russia. But what RT did not have time to investigate, was who stood behind. I mentioned Rupert Murdoch, who is the poster boy of Putin haters, but others involved are even more interesting. I’ll be brief here, but the reader will glean the essence of the Russia doping fiasco with this. In the Sunday Times:
“Javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson and others British athletes urged the IOC to impose the blanket ban on Russia.”
Now pay attention here. I did not have to dig any deeper than the lead on this article, and I gladly avoided going past the pay wall to get the meat of The Times’s anti Russia advertisement. As it turns out, the intricate relationships in the world of sport in Britain are revealed in this one athlete’s endeavors. You see, Tessa Sanderson is an Olympic Gold medal winner, former Vice Chairman of Sport England, Olympic Park Legacy Company board member, and Ambassador for the 2012 Olympic Games. Pay close attention here, and see the prototypical anti-Russia athlete spokesperson.
Tessa Sanderson was also selected to the board of the Olympic Park Legacy Company by Baroness Margaret Ford (above). The Baroness is coincidentally a on the board of the notorious SERCO security outsourcing company with a history of problems, failures, fatal errors and overcharging. In a recent speech before the House of Lords she took great pride in welcoming newly knighted former Goldman Sachs exec turned London Games organizer Lord Deighton. In every instance I can find, athletes vehemently demanding a Russian ban, always leads to vested interests underneath. Knowingly, or unwittingly the world class athletes in support of inhumanely banning even clean athletes, they are in one way or another supported by money from the elites. I’ll give another example of “who is behind” the sports war on Russia. This is from a press release:
“Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy (TSFA) today announced Saudi Aramco, a global petroleum enterprise, as a sponsor of the East London Half Marathon, London’s newest half marathon set to take place in the Stratford area, which was at the heart of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The business of training athletes must go on, just as world politics must go on. It may interest the reader to know about one of the athletes the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy has worked with though. Alex Al Ameen was a member of Team Britain before the London games. An injury kept him out of competition then, but he is headed to Rio today, only for Team Nigeria instead. What’s so interesting about this Sanderson deciple is, he’s a 110 meter hurdles competitor. What makes that so interesting, you ask? Well, the current world champion in the men’s hurdles is Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov (above), who will now be competing thanks to Thomas Bach and the IOC. Guess who else is in the running in the 110? America’s Devon Allen, world record holder Aries Merritt, and 2016 champ Marcus Krah who won at the IAAF World Championships that Shubenkov was not allowed to enter. Maybe this makes my point, but if not, this will. Krah won the world championship with a time of 13.30. Shubenkov’s time at the 2015 World’s was 12.98 seconds. For those of you who have never ran track, three tenths of a second is light years in the 110. The world record of 12.80 seconds, held by Merritt, is a still further galaxy away.
The Finish Line
Breaking the tape to win here are; Thomas Bach, the rest of the IOC executive board, along with the ethics committee. The decision to allow, but to minutely examine all “clean” Russian athletes headed to Rio was fair, sportsmanlike, and in the best interest of sport overall. More importantly, failing to ban some of the world’s finest athletes, those totally above reproach, offers hope in a world where big business and low down morals have become commonplace. I told RT last week I thought Bach and the IOC would take flack over such a decision, and they certainly are now. But here’s the thing. Bach and these others IOC executives are business people too. Let’s not be naïve. I am also sure of the conversations that must have gone on before the decision was rendered. The forces against Russia and Putin are immense; we all know this by now. The entirety of western media reports daily of some Putin travesty, and invasion, a murder, a KGB plot to take over the world. Sochi opened the door for crazy sensationalism, raging wolves wandering the streets, Chechnya terrorists at every ski event venue, and the gay community slaughtered like sacrificial sheep in the Krasnodar. If Putin had lived in Palestine 2000 years ago, he’d have been crucified alongside Jesus.
This is unarguable, the craziness and poor sportsmanship America, Britain, and most of the rest of the west has shown toward Russia. Yes, Russian athletes have been caught cheating, and so have Americans and others. But demanding a whole team be banned? It was simply the latest in a long list of politicized events aimed at hurting a people. Think about this. Grasp the reality, and scoff at the infantile liars who throw together “truth” without the thinnest of evidence. “Sources” said, “supposed” agents, “Putin probably” diatribe that goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Ask an honest athlete who he or she wants to compete against, and they will tell you they want “all” the odds against them. Champions want their competition to be impossible, favored, and indomitable, for this is where legends are made.
I’ll leave you with an Olympian quote that illustrates what every great athlete aspires to. Imagine how many cheaters a true champion defeats in a career:
“I never lost a freestyle race. Never. Not even in the YMCA.” – Johnny Weissmuller – Winner of five Olympic Gold Medals and the man who set more than 50 world records in swimming.
Imagine, never having been defeated, not ever. And for those out there who are not sports people, Ms. Ruiz maybe, the epitome athleticism is winning against any odds. Maybe everyone should study this, rather than how to win on a technicality or political sham.