Today’s edition of My 2 Sense was written by Sal Marinello, President Athletic Development Coaching.
In case you missed it, there’s a major league doping scandal unfolding on the international athletic stage. The scandal has been brewing since last December when a German state run television station broadcasted a documentary alleging a wide-spread effort by the Russians to avoid doping controls. As a result of this documentary the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) began an investigation of the Russian anti-doping and track and field programs.
As a result of this initial documentary several Russian IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) officials resigned. Rats jump ship, as we all know. And in case you didn’t know, the IAAF is the governing body for track and field.
Then in August of this year a second German documentary implicated Russian and Kenyan athletes in a doping scandal. The documentary claimed that approximately 12,000 blood tests for about 5,000 athletes detected high levels of doping, and yet the anti-doping agencies of the respective countries did nothing to follow-up. More importantly, many of these tests were from champion athletes. We have since found out that many, if not all, of these samples have been destroyed. Oops.
This month the stuff really hit the fan as the former IAAF president was arrested, in France, on charges of corruption and suspicion of taking bribes from the Russians to cover up doping cases. Two of his cronies, a legal advisor and the director of the IAAF’s anti-doping department, were also charged, which isn’t good.
And if all of this wasn’t enough to set off the Intrigue Detector, the IAAF was investigating Russian coaches and WADA determined Russia was guilty of conducting a state-sponsored doping program that sabotaged the 2012 London Olympics. Russia, of course, denied all of this and claimed the investigation was political. Vladimir Putin himself even got involved, saying that he would make sure he got to the bottom of all of this sordid doping business. Messy, messy, messy!
Meanwhile, the IAAF has banned Russian athletes who compete under the banner of the IAAF, basically their track and field athletes, from international competition, including the 2016 Rio Olympics. There is so much goodness here!
There has already been talk that Russian IAAF athletes might be able to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics as Independant Olympic Athletes, which is bogus. Russian athletes are not innocent pawns here and willingly took part in this scheme. They doped, helped scam the tests, competed and in some cases won medals. Unless some Russian athletes claim that they were doped without consent, these IAAF athletes should all be banned. For a long time.
Other stories mention that if Russia gets its anti-doping house in order, their athletes could be reinstated in time for the Indoor World Championships in March of 2016, or even the Rio Olympics. This is another horse feathers idea. Do I really need to explain why?
Here are two great reasons Russian track and field athletes shouldn’t be allowed within a million verstas (look that one up, Comrade!) from the 2016 World Championships or Olympics; A) their system is corrupt 2) it takes more than 9 months for a dirty, doping athlete to be considered “clean,” especially in this era of super performance enhancing drugs.
That being said, don’t be surprised if Russia is reinstated in time for the Rio Olympics. Why, you say? Well, the international governing bodies of sport are corrupt and money hungry, and can be bought. Did I mention that the sporting authorities are corrupt? There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars and rubles at stake, so anything is possible.
Or…how about the idea that Russia isn’t the only country to be involved in doping and that maybe, just maybe, they will threaten to rat out other countries that they know are doping unless they are allowed to play on the big stage? Hmm?
Nobody should be so naive to think that doping isn’t rampant in the world of international sport. The Kenyans have problems, the Americans have problems, and even that plucky little island nation of Jamaica that has produced some of the fastest humans ever has problems.
With the wide-spread corruption and disregard for the rules that have been uncovered in this story the cynical sports fan can be forgiven for wondering how much longer high-level competitors can play by the rules. Or even if any of them are.