It’s dawn in Moscow, scattered clouds drift by overhead as a slender athletic figure peers up from a center city balcony. The city is humid and eerily quiet at 5 a.m., but still as daunting as ever for a girl raised simple in Volgograd. Yelena Isinbayeva’s hand trembles a bit, as she ponders the fate of things. The coffee in her cup, clearing the rim to slightly burn her hand, she returns her gaze to breakfast. Just bread, butter and a bit of cheese, that’s all it takes to send a champion aloft, and Isinbayeva is the best of the best. But Russia’s pride, the greatest women’s pole vaulter of all time, she’s cemented to Earth by cruel men, playing dark politics.
(Please sign the petition here, or below. An appeal to Thomas Bach and the IOC)
Yelena Isinbayeva is being punished by the same organizations that named her Sportswoman of the Year three times. Despite the decision of IOC President Thomas Bach and the Olympic executive committee to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Rio games, in some weird quirk of fate, Yelena has been denied. Russia, accused of “state sponsored doping”, is snubbed, tortured, and humiliated by a sporting community rife with scandal itself. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and President Sebastian Coe refused to approve Yelena’s participation in the Rio Olympics, Isinbayeva was crushed as if she’d vaulted 5 meters, only to fall on solid concrete. The two Olympic gold medals, her three world championships, her world record at her event, everything blurs in the tears Yelena can no longer hold back. What a travesty this is, as any true sportsman must know. The cleanest of clean athletes, the very pinnacle of un-reproachful excellence, sacrificed on the altar of sport for greedy businessmen’s sake. But the asymmetrical politics of today are not in Yelena’s mind this morning.
In the Instagram share below one of Yelena’s fans comments on the star’s bid for fairness; “While there is a 1% chance, I have 99% faith.”
Уважаемые друзья и СМИ, информация о якобы не поданой мной индивидуальной заявки в ИААФ на участие в ОИ в Рио, является ложной. 20 минут назад я получила отрицательный ответ от секретаря ИААФ. К сожалению мне не сделали исключение. До ОИ в Рио меня не допустили. Чуда не произошло. СПАСИБО ВАМ ВСЕМ БОЛЬШОЕ ЗА ПОДДЕРЖКУ, ОГРОМНОЕ СПАСИБО! Не судьба мне выступить в Рио!
Thomas Bach made the most courageous decision in politics the other day. Though the watching public scarcely noticed, the former Olympic fencing champion who’s now President of the IOC parried deadly strikes it’s sure, in allowing Russia to compete in Rio at all. What must it have took, to buck the entire western media/political/business sector of the western hemisphere? Make no mistake about it my friends, this is assuredly what he did. By showing the good sportsmanship and logic, of punishing only the guilty, Bach held true to an athlete’s pledge of fairness. Unfortunately, Lord Sebastian Coe seems to have forgotten his oath, or he’s been blackmailed out of it one.
Now one of the greatest Olympian’s the world has ever known sits staring into the morning, no doubt pondering how this all came to pass. As Yelena wrestles with the tears, the anger, and the things she cannot hurdle, Thomas Back is in Rio overseeing the spectacle of the eternal games of humanity. Even the people of Rio wonder publicly, at Isinbayeva absence. But amid the impromptu reports on the streets of Brazil, and cries from social media for answers, the IAAF and Coe stand rigid, backs turned on endeavors we all so loved. Yelena cannot even get an answer to the question, “Why have I been singled out?” You see she surely has been, of this I am certain. For even past transgressors are now allowed to compete, and Yelena has never even been suspected of doping.
Coe, the man of Olympic track & field legend, must surely have done something awfully dirty to behave in this fashion. This is what I think. The runner who was “the man” at the 1984 Olympics has somehow disappeared, and four Olympic gold medals now hang in the trophy case of an alien impostor, some replacement the big British bankers stuck in Coe’s place. Sebastian Coe was a hero to millions, I watched with the rest his exploits in 1980 and 1984. I was saddened, like other fans, when he got a lunch infection and could not qualify for 1988. To hear what he’s doing to Yelena Isinbayeva, it’s almost inconceivable to me. But there it is.
With a few days left to go, Russia’s greatest track and field athlete is by now in a gymnastics routine, still training for the possibility a miracle will happen. She’s said she’ll work toward Rio, until the last second. Isn’t this what champions do, after all? But the sports miracle we wait for this time will not come from Yelena’s dire dedication to physical and mental perfection. No, the miracle must come from her fans, and from the tens of millions of old athletes like me, who swore to play fair our whole lives.
Sebastian Coe, sir, time for you to stand tall again, and play fair.
For you readers, you can help make a sports miracle by signing this petition to Thomas Bach at Change.org. The petition is in Russian but simply states:
“We, sports fans, do not agree with the decision of the IAAF to throw aside Russian athletes, who were not doping, from participation in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Clean athletes, with an impeccable reputation should take part in the Games!”
The petition goes on to implore the IOC and Thomas Bach to intervene on Yelena’s behalf. Please help, won’t you?