Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 7:49 AM

IOC Ban Shows USA How to Deal with ‘Systematically’ Corrupt Russia

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. … Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.

That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways.

(New York Times, December 5, 2017)

This ban of an entire Olympic team is unprecedented. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) insists that it’s only proportional to Russia’s “unprecedented assault on the integrity of the Olympic Games.”

As it happens, this follows a more limited ban on Russian Track & Field athletes, which the IOC issued for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here in part is the prescient way I commented on that ban:

I suspect Track and Field athletes are being punished for the sins of Russian athletes in every other sport. After all, it beggars belief to think that Russia used systemic doping to enhance the performance of these athletes, but left those in every other sport to rely on their natural abilities.

(“Track Officials Ban Russians from Rio Olympics for Doping,” The iPINIONS Journal, June 18, 2016)

Mind you, despite protesting its innocence back then, Russia vowed to clean up its act to qualify for these Games. Therefore, it speaks volumes about the insidious nature of the doping at issue that Russia was unable to do so. Indeed, Germany is already leading a clarion call for the IOC to ban its entire team from the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

In any event, this ban means that Russia is now about as respected in the world of sports as North Korea is in the world of politics. Mind you, I have often quipped that Russia is just North Korea with more nukes.

To be fair, though, even North Korea can claim that the integrity of its national character is such that it would never even countenance cheating in this systematic fashion for Olympic glory.

This is why, try as he might, Russian President Vladimir Putin can barely conceal the look of eternal shame he has brought upon his “proud” nation. No doubt he’s cursing fate that he’s not lording over the old Soviet Union. For, if he were, he could force satellite states to join Russia in a face-saving boycott.

Instead, even more Russian athletes will be queuing up to effectively renounce their citizenship to compete in Tokyo than the number who did to compete in Rio, which will only compound Russia’s humiliation and shame. Well, that is unless Putin makes clear that he would do to the family of any Russian who competes what Kim Jong-un does to the family of any North Korean who defects.

Meanwhile, Putin is blaming this IOC decision on a Western plot to affect the outcome of the presidential election in Russia next year. Evidently, irony is even more lost on him than pravda (truth). Not to mention that everyone knows he will rig this one the way he has rigged every other election he has won.

Frankly, his blame shifting is patently absurd. The fact is that this IOC ban punched a big hole in the master-of-the-universe image Putin has cultivated in Russia. He’s only trying desperately to cover it up.

That said, this IOC ban has also magnified US President Donald Trump’s morally bankrupt fraternization with Putin. After all, his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama treated Putin like a pariah. And they had good cause for doing so.

Specifically, both Bush and Obama imposed increasingly crippling sanctions against Russia because, among other things, Putin

  • annexed the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
  • annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea;
  • ordered assassins to kill journalists and dissidents at home and abroad; and
  • ordered trolls to undermine democratic elections and institutions everywhere from Germany to the United States.

Yet, despite all this, along comes Trump angling not just to lift those sanctions but also to treat Putin with even greater camaraderie than he accords leaders of America’s most trusted allies.

I have posited in many commentaries that only one thing explains their antic bromance: Putin, a former KGB colonel, has such compromising information on Trump that this pussy-grabbing narcissist is willing to sell his soul, and even sell out his country, to keep it from seeing the light of day.

The Winter Games get underway on February 9, 2018.

Related commentaries:
Ban the Russians
Georgia territories
Ukraine
Putin-Trump

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