The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is guilty of gross double standards and has underlined its gutless and rudderless self.
It has decided against imposing a blanket ban on Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The rationale behind the decision lacks coherence.
It says that it has to be mindful of clean athletes within the Russian team and not to penalise them for no wrongdoing. That appears to be a clause the IOC falls back on when it suits it. There is no consistency at all about this current decision.
From 1964 to 1988 – a period spanning seven Summer Olympic Games – the IOC banned all South African athletes from the Games.
Hundreds of athletes over that period were denied their sporting dream because of no fault of their own.
They were penalised because of the decisions made by their own government.
There is no doubting that Apartheid was a despicable policy and it had no place in this world. But surely what Russia has done to the integrity of sport deserves a similar blanket ban.
When all is said and done, the IOC is a sporting organisation, although, given the likes of its late President Juan Antonio Samaranch decreed that he should be referred to as ‘His Excellency,’ they see themselves as something far broader.
Nonetheless, sport is the IOC’s primary bailiwick. And with respect to its core business, it has let the sporting world down.
Russia has bleated that what was uncovered by the McLaren report was not a state-sponsored doping regime.
So the FSB agents – the successor of the KGB – who were responsible for the swapping of tainted urine samples were merely operating off their own bat?
Wow, is that a pig that just flew by?
Even the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has weighed into the debate, saying it would be grossly unfair to ban the Russian team as not all its athletes are doping.
That is likely true. However, when you methodically destroy samples – as many as 8000 according to the McLaren document – it is hard to determine who the clean ones are.
After an embarrassing performance at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Russia was determined that it would not suffer a similar fate when it hosted the Games at Sochi in 2014. Through a concerted effort, they cheated their way to the top of the medal tally.
Additionally, it has been found that nearly 30 sports in total had doping cover-ups. Yet the IOC has refused to ban Russia as a whole.
Instead, it has abrogated its responsibility and passed the final decision on the participation of Russian athletes to the individual sporting federations.
They now have less than a fortnight to decide their stance.
The IAAF has already acted having banned every Russian track and field athlete, a decision that has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in International sport.
In handpassing the decision to the individual federations, the IOC has stated that “Federations should not consider the absence of a past positive test as evidence of a clean record and there should be no presumption of innocence.”
In other words, feel free to ban athletes even though we won’t, whether they have tested positive or not.
Bizarrely, the IOC has also stated that any Russian who has served a doping ban cannot be considered for selection.
How the hell did they come to that decision?
The United States have selected sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin who have both served doping suspensions. Where is the consistency in that decision and the rationale behind it?
Then, to top it all off, one of the prime whistle-blowers who helped uncover the Russian doping apparatus, 800m runner Yuliya Stepanova has been told that she cannot compete as a neutral athlete.
It also said it did not permit the entry of neutrals. Really?
Why the hell, then, did the IOC allow independent athletes to compete at the 1992 and 2000 Olympics?
At Barcelona, as a result of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, athletes from Yugoslavia and Macedonia were allowed to compete as Independent Olympic Athletes.
At Sydney, the IOC trumpeted its decision to allow four East Timorese athletes to compete as Individual Olympic Athletes during the nation’s transition to independence.
But, in the case of a whistle-blower who helped blow the lid on a massive doping program within her own country, the IOC has cast her aside.
Well, not entirely.
In the ultimate insult, the IOC has invited Stepanova and her husband to attend the Rio Games.
I kid you not.
She is barred from competing, yet the IOC has invited her to sit in the stands and watch athletes from her country compete in other sports who have most likely taken drugs.
From what the IOC has said in the past 24 hours, it would appear that had it uncovered the East German state-sanctioned doping regime prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall it would not have banned the country as a whole.
It was learned post-1989 that as many as 10,000 East German athletes were doped.
The IOC would no doubt have said, “yes, there were 10,000 athletes in the wrong with the state overseeing the program, but what about those who didn’t dope?”
At which point does the IOC decide that a nation has sullied the integrity of sport to such an extent that it should be banned?
Clearly, simply when its human rights are called into question.
Oh hang on, didn’t China host the 2008 Olympics?