Coach Leader Calls For Olympic Boycott If Russia Returns For Rio; Swiss Link In Focus

The Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro is taking shape but there's work to be done to make the show what it should be [artist's impression, Aecom Architects, courtesy of Rio2016]

The head of the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) has urged athletes to stage a boycott of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if the IAAF backtracks on its provisional suspension of Russia from the track and field events in Brazil and all other international competitions for the foreseeable future

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The head of the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) has urged athletes to stage a boycott of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if the IAAF backtracks on its provisional suspension of Russia from the track and field events in Brazil and all other international competitions for the foreseeable future

Comments

felix

So athletes are supposed to give up their Olympic dream because of the Russians? Ok John. As if the rest of the world is clean. As if the Olympics aren’t corrupt. I guarantee some of the so called legends of every sport were cheats and some of those who win in Rio will be cheats. That will never change, some people will just happen to know that they did it with honour and some didnt…..

Craig Lord

Felix, you make his point for him a second time: bad things happen because people, as you just did, simply shrug and say ‘it’s all bad and things will never change’. a self-fulfilling prophecy. As far as I can tell, John Leonard is emphasising that point: if clean athletes, if federations with good intent, if all who want clean sport do not stand up and be counted and take action that is truly meaningful and will force change, you can guarantee that the stuff of the WADA IC report will carry on. The very threat of what he suggests, backed by the same level of threat from domestic federations and NOCs, would be enough to make sure it never happens. Universal resolve is what is called for – and boycott need not happen if that resolve shows Olympic bosses that its members will no longer tolerate more of the same fraud, corruption and deceit; are not prepared to be a part of a sham. On many levels in many realms, human history is stacked with change, cultural change, progress that happened because good people took a stand, painful as that was at the time (examples galore, including we being here discussing as we do without the risk of being taken out by a royal sword or a red-hot poker… a great deal of blood spilled so that we can; ‘unrealistic’; ‘unreasonable’; ‘will never happen’ – all phrases used in the fight of women to get the vote – and much else… it all came to pass); future generations often forget that sacrifice and take the rights and freedoms and world they live in for granted with a worrying degree of ease.

commonwombat

However, Felix’s point IS valid. It’s fine and dandy for Mr Leonard to take such a viewpoint and call for sacrifice from others when ….. what is Mr Leonard sacrificing ? It’s like the heroic speeches and demonstrations by demonstrators ……. all from the safe distance of “heroic exile” or their new homes.

Much of his argument has great validity but he blows it out of the water by advocating a boycott. Realistically a Rio boycott will only go ahead if:

– (1) there is a complete breakdown of domestic order in Brazil; whilst there are some distinctly lawless areas this is a pretty big long shot.

– (2) a number of other major international controlling bodies BEYOND the IAAF are fully PUBLICALLY exposed as being compromised “beyond repair”. Much as FINA stinks, it has not as yet reached the point of FINA or IAAF with regards to public disgrace.

These may be plausible scenarios but, at present, realistically they are long-shots. Might scenario 2 change over the next 3-6 months; Maybe but as yet the “fertiliser has yet to hit the fan” beyond these sports.

Mind you, could Rio be the death of the Olympics ….. at least in its current guise ? That is plausible.

Jonathan Ehrman

I have to agree with Felix. There has to be another way to do this. The athletes who did not attend the 1980 Games (again due to Russia/USSR) are still deeply hurt. We cannot do that to another generation of athletes.

Craig Lord

I realise that BUT … I don’t think he wishes or intends that a boycott actually unfolds. He is making the point that it may take that serious threat to make the different, common wombat. As for public disgrace of FINA; that was very much what Australians felt about FINA back in 1998 and I don’t think much has changed on that score… simply a pile of pooh you have to work your way around or ignore while focussing on the show proper (swimming and swimmers) … as for the rest of the world beyond swimming, they really don’t care much, most of them believing FINA is a petrol station. There was a time when it was the norm to simply go along to get along and accept there were some stupid to silly things going on in the mix of a lot of good will and good work at the intl federation. The stupid and silly has turned into the bad and rotten of late – and that has brought the whole show closer to a tipping point. The question is what moves to make to force tipping point into the realms of genuine change for the better. That’s my question to you all in the other comment.

Craig Lord

Jonathan: I’m sure that just about everyone, JL included, would be keen to avoid any such thing. He is making the point that at some point a stand will have to be taken if a culture is to be changed. And he is right. There will be a degree of pain if people want genuine change. Look at the depth to which this all goes, a doctor in Lausanne at the very heart of IOC/FINA land and a regular guest in the company of the leading blazers…
I agree about boycotts in general but there is and would be a very distinct difference between athletes being told ‘you can’t go because of X Y and Z in a world well behind you’ and athletes saying ‘we don’t want to be there if you are serious about letting that stinking heap back into the party so soon with nothing of any substance in terms of change possible in the short period of time we’re talking about’. That is what is being suggested here. That athletes and federations take a stand and say: we won’t put up with this.
No boycott would be required if Olympic bosses, NBC etc really believed it could happen.

I would be interested to hear from any of you what measures you feel would work to persuade the IOC and all down the chain of blazers that the world means business this time and will not tolerate anything but a massive clean up on all levels suggested as rotten at the heart of the Olympic movement.

felix

Sport will never be clean. Ever. Humans in general are disgraceful animals. The worst of the lot. And its not even close. And what’s going on in sport pales in comparison to what going on in Africa, the Middle East and so on and its all getting worse. Most humans desire money, most humans are greedy, many humans want power. Sport is now a business for most. As I said on this website last year the Chinese female swim team were the unhappiest bunch of swimmers I’ve ever seen. Put all of this together and you get cheats you get corruption. FINA doesn’t “look” as bad on a public level as FIFA because football is the biggest sport on the planet and swimming really an Olympic sport in most people views. I’m sorry Craig but as much as you want to see a clean world of sport it is completely unrealistic is this day and age. For that to happen God would have to wipe the lot of us off the planet and start again with a new remodelled version that possesses no sin.

felix

In saying that I’m excited about Rio. I think most swimmers will be clean and I think the racing will be brilliant.

Craig Lord

I don’t share your pessimism, Felix. Of course there will always be murderers but the vast vast vast majority of us don’t go there and never wish to. In sport the majority is not of that vast, vast, vast kind, it seems to me. There is a problem that could be tackled and fought and conquered, not obliterated, for the reasons you suggest: shrugging shoulders and saying ‘nothing will change so leave it’ at a moment when we learn what we learn from journalism and WADA investigation is not something I am going to applaud. If you took your approach as an athlete, defeat would be guaranteed. No-one is suggesting you can make angels of all of us here on earth… but I am suggesting that there is a much better way and there are ways to prevent really bad stuff happening. For example, in theory, if you were to discover that a leading gold medal hope was being protected by the very people running a federation and hiding doping test results, would you not feel there was anything you could do about it; would you not want fellow athletes and others to take a stand? What would you do about that scenario if it were proven but led to absolutely no change in regime whatsoever?

Craig Lord

We all are. That’s not the point, Felix – and I’m sure you know that. It was perfectly possible at Rome 1994, for e.g., to be excited at the prospects, thrilled by the show while being appalled at what was unfolding in women’s races being won by the Chinese. It is possible to be thrilled by the sport and achievement while fighting the bad stuff. And I should know.

felix

For me personally there are far more concerning issues with the world than scumbags who wish to cheat. But yes I sincerely hope that federations who support cheating are exposed and penalised. As we know the Russians are filthy cheats but I’m sure there are many nations who are doing similar things. People with no morals and no respect for human life.

Yozhik

The statement of Mr. Leonard was either made by desperate person who doesn’t see any other means to make sport cleaner or this statement was politically motivated. I don’t know what case is worse.
Felix, but what and how you are saying I conclude that you are a good person, and members of your family are good as well, and so are friends of your family and friends of their friends and ….
So I think that time of new flood of Biblical proportions hasn’t come yet.

Craig Lord

We find common ground Felix.

Craig Lord

The politically motivated is the worst of the two Yozhik. And I think desperation is closer to the truth – and that’s not even remotely as worthy of criticism as the stuff the folk cited by Russian witnesses, ARD and now WADA IC have apparently been up to.
The thing is, as commonwombat noted with reference to JL, what is it any of us have to lose? Well, for most who are remote (and that includes fans) from the athlete standing on the blocks racing for a big medal, remote from the coach in the picture, remote from the years of dedication and what that has meant to all those close to the athlete in question, the answer is ‘not much’. For the Babashoffs of the world (her name simply symbolic of a great many people down the years), it means a great deal; it means a life distorted; it means a sense of loss and a childhood wasted; it means the kind of stuff that if it were your child you simply would not want it to be a part of their experience if you could possibly avoid it being so. I believe it is possible to avoid it being the experience of many more than is currently the case. My role is, in part, to represent in reports and opinion the views of those who get hammered by cheats, robbed of their just rewards and rightful place in history and feel totally disempowered in and by a world that shrugs and says ‘it will always be so’. Human history is full of the dodgy and unacceptable – and overflowing with the stuff of people standing up for the things that add up to progress. So, I don’t accept the stuff of ‘in this day and age’; cheating is a cousin of the oldest profession, murder and many other things along a line of unacceptable to some through to ‘with this we will not put up and here is the law and here are the stocks, the jails, the rehab’ and you name it. The thing is, you can always make it a better day but if those cited in the WADA IC report and those yet to be cited (and it won’t be too long now) find bed fellows among the folk who want clean sport but can only muster a shrug and a ‘well, it will always be with us, so don’t make too many waves, unseemly as all of that is’ all the easier for the dark stuff to thrive. I am not in support of boycott but I am in support of any threat that will be taken seriously enough to make the difference between change and no change; and, of course, you have to be prepared to follow through with a threat in the face of the thing you are not prepared to tolerate.

Lucy Slade

How about medalists across all sports boycott the medal ceremony if there is a Russian on the podium?
This will allow athletes to compete whilst making a statement. Might just be as powerful as the Tommie Smith and John Carlos salute in Mexico ’68.

Craig Lord

Good idea Lucy Slade; that seems to me the kind of thing that would test the resolve of the blazers and force them to show their true colours and loyalties (to those they represent or those they quaff with) – while allowing the swimmers to swim.

Mike Smith

This is absolutely ridiculous and soo political that i am disgusted by it….
Athletes who win medals to boycott medal ceremony (ok, I may agree on that part if there is a valid reason for it), if there is a Russian on the podium….!!!!! What is this? A political campaign? East-west cold war??? A propaganda machine or a media blindness???
Lets all understand, I am ALL FOR punishing cheaters and clean sport BUT, to generalize that much and put a whole nation in the same bag…!!!???Seriously??? Craig and John, I thought you know better then that honestly. Had some faith, at the beginning, thinking and hoping you are actually fighting for a clean sport, fighting against corruption and totally NONE transparent FINA and for better for athletes…..however, this last article makes me wonder big time.
Would this all be the same if we would say, when Lens was FINALLY caught, that all athletes in the world should boycott medal ceremony whenever USA athlete wins a medal…!!!???
This is TOTALLY ludicrous and ridiculous. Such generalization at the least. Just my 2 cents

Yozhik

Craig, when I said “political” I didn’t mean Mr.Leonard’s personal dislike of particular country or country’s government. I know nothing about that. I was speaking broadly meaning that a “politician” can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution. His message was intended most likely for the specific professional circles where his words will be properly heard. For people like me it is a low taste statement, because I share commonwombat’s position that – it is not right to call other people to sacrifice if you are not planning to do it yourself. Especially if one knows that such sacrifices can happen to be totally useless.
If Mr. Leonard in despear it is also not good. He is an influential public figure and as such he should not allow himself simple human emotions like Felix’s pessimism.
In any case I personally think that this call for boycott was a bad move.

Craig Lord

Your 2 cents have taken your thoughts way beyond any reasonable interpretation, Mike. No idea how you could imagine that any campaigning I and we at SwimVortex do is NOT intended for clean sport and against corruption. As for politics, there happens to be a report and investigation into one country specifically; so obvious that reaction is going to mirror that focus. I couldn’t care less whether the nation in focus is Russia (which it is) or any other (which it isn’t, right now) – I report and comment on what’s before me.
John may and must speak for himself.
To be honest, you sound more desperate and far more lost than JL and his last-resort view of how to tackle the possibility of inaction by the IOC. Lucy Slade’s idea was related to track and field; a Russian track team by next summer is not going to be void of suspicion. Mike you need to read the 353-page report; you need to hear the evidence of Russian athletes who claim that just about all their teammates were a part of the cheating, not just one or two. You need to understand that people who run accredited labs have been purring samples down the drain. You need to understand that some of this involves government decrees specifically calling for chain of command on doping samples to be broken. You need to understand that some cited have been operating in the same corrupt way as FIFA officials and appear to have been running a mafia-style operation. Deep institutionalised culture of cheating. Doping is global. The form of systematic doping exposed in the WADA IC is not, unless you know (for we do now KNOW about Russia) differently. If you don’t think it possible for teams to have been stacked quite high in track and field with those who have been a part of the problem, you have not digested the full implication of the reports and the media reports (some I have worked on) from the past year. Your Lance scenario misses the point entirely. It would only work if the world knew of his cheating but he was still allowed to compete – that didn’t happen: he was taken out and out of circulation; banned for life because of the systematic nature of what he did and how he lied (very close parallels to what we see in the WADA IC report); it follows then that any who behave similarly ought to be dealt with in similar fashion – and that means whole rafts of folk in Russian track and from from the bosses in blazers through doctors and coaches and on to the athletes picking up the medals and paying vast sums of money to have their positive doping tests covered up. That is what is being demanded of WADA IC and those who back their recommendations but understand that there will be a huge effort to backtrack on that behind the scenes.
In swimming, Russia has more than 20 positive tests on its score card in the past 6 seasons and has several who were banned and returned on its current national team; one of them banned twice and still there. Yet no-one is suggesting that the swim team should be banned from Rio, as far as I can see, distasteful as it is to see any banned swimmer, from wherever, back on the blocks and racing for dubious ‘honour’ once more.
Asking people to take a stand is neither ludicrous nor ridiculous. I don’t support boycott. I do support measures designed to make those running sport show their hand and commit to review and a complete overhaul of the structures of governance in sport.
If this article makes you wonder about all the stuff you said you had faith in, then you have read far too much into it. Put your energy into reading the WADA IC report cover to cover: your time will have been far better spent.

Lanfranco badia

I have read with irony the ideas of mr.Leonard, but as always you USA looked to the left at closing to the right the eye the (way to say Italian) doping is diffused anywhere, in the sport the God money is like her/it master, bussiness for which it is normal that big part of the athletes that you/they excel unfortunately they make use of substances dopanti, sad to tell him but it is the truth, the sports so said dirty cone The Light athletics, Lifting Weighs, Ski leading, Bicycling On Footstep, unfortunately also the swimming doesn’t save him, particularly Chinese and Brazilians do use of forbidden substances but the Thin one it silts every thing, you see the scandal SUN YANG, but not even you Americans dear mister GRAIG And MISTER LEONARD, is innocent, in the years only two important cases have been publicized as doping (MIERS Martino In 2008 And JESSICA HARDY 2008) but how much thanks to the federation it uses swimming you/they have done her frank …[NB… edited out: sorry Lanfranco but your language here was not clear enough for interpretation and I cannot risk misinterpretation and a repeat of that in various forms concerning athletes who have never been linked to doping and against who there is absolutely no proof – ED]
I especially deal me of light athletics and together with my collaborators from 30 years we publicize the problems of this more sport’ that to disqualify Russia the This should take a difficulty but justified taking of position excluding the IAAF Da the Games Rio it has been since 1988 that I show as this federation it hides many cases of doping, already’ from Los Angeles 1984 9 athletes posistivi to the doping hidden, with the complicity of the president IAFF since that time, my fellow countryman First NEBIOLO, not to speak of the more games’ dIrty those of SEUL 1988 Initiated Hiding The Positiveness’ Of 13 American Athletes Among Which The Great (CARL Lewis) one to End With The Guilty one That The whole Poor man Covered Well JOHNSSON Caro mister GRAIG IL DOPING is Able’ to Be fought Only If Everybody The Governments Of Everything – [Agreed – ED] … Inserts As Penal Crime, And’ This’ That My Country has Made The italia it is This’ That The Government Of Germany
Note from Craig to Lanfranco – you have my permission to leave your comment in Italian; sorry but in parts the English version is incomprehensible and as above I am not willing to open discussions based on misinterpretation. I believe your point is that doping is universal. I refer you to my response to Mike: the WADA IC report deals with one specific nation when it comes to systematic doping. It is that we are addressing here. Non-one is suggesting that cheating does not exist elsewhere. Global problems should not blind us to specific issues of overriding importance.

Craig Lord

Thanks for the clarification Yozhik. I think there are wiser things to call for than boycott (which isn’t going to happen anyway); I will not, however, criticise desperation in folk, as Bill Sweetenham noted at the World Clinic, who have spent 4 and 5 decades putting up with more intolerable stuff than is tolerable – and watched the pain of it unfold at close quarters. Sit for just a few moments and listen to folk who have been robbed and you get the picture – then make the robbed young and relatively vulnerable people whose lives are shaped by stuff that ought not to shape their lives. And all the while the blazers prospered, the status quo deepened its hold and self-interest.
As for politics: I doubt very much if this was political for there is no political gain to be made from such a move. You are, for the most part, simply going to get clobbered or criticised – as is clear from the comments by you, Felix, Mike etc.
I would far rather see harsh words aimed at those cited in the WADA IC report; words of support for the Russian whistle-blowers who showed courage and hope to see a better day and make sport in Russia (and elsewhere) a place to take your kids without thinking you risk handing them over to rogues and rascals galore, from the boardroom to the blocks.

Mike Smith

Craig, you seem to be frustrated with my comments? How about me (or anybody else) being frustrated with yours?
Please don’t tell me what I know and what i have to put my energy and mind into….You have no idea what i do and for how long. Just so you understand, I have been deeply involved into all of this(not saying I have used any doping but been around) for many years and been following closely all what happened. I have read the report, I have new about it long before public did, so yes, I know what am I talking about.
Re: Lens…..lets not talk about his interviews with Larry King. Do you think Larry would ever invite anyone on his show unless there was an intriguing story behind it? You want to tell me that the whole world wasn’t suspicious about lens and his dope? Same thing totally.
All I was saying in my previous comment is that we shouldn’t (and can not) generalize and that is absolutely ridiculous and funny suggestion of athletes stepping down from the podium if any Russian athlete wins the medal….That is RIDICULOUS totally
and again, if you haven’t read it in my previous comment, I AM ALL FOR clean sport and I do support efforts for clean sport and will always stay behind, however, with he suggestion of stepping down from the medal podium, and you supporting it, you have crossed to another extreme in my mind. That’s all from me folks. Not answering any more

Craig Lord

“Mike”, I’m not frustrated by your comment. It just strays way beyond where it needs to be to make your point: you read into things an agenda and an interpretation way beyond the truth: and yes, I can say that because only I know my mind – and you don’t. You do know my work – and that speaks for itself. If you have followed this all along and knew the details before the public then be open and transparent and tell the reader who you are and what role you have that would grant you access to a WADA IC report before its publication. That would be worth reading and hearing more about. Telling us “I’m Mike and I knew it before you” is pretty pointless. In my reply to Lucy, I stated only ‘that kind of thing’ was a good idea; and I’ll now be very clear where I would take it to: any athlete, swimmers included, who makes the podium after a return from a doping ban, does not deserve to be on the podium, should not be back in sport and should be banned for life. Straight up. I don’t give 2 cents for where they come from or what their pre-positive status might have been. By that kind of thing, I meant, in general, any action from clean athletes that sends a message to others: ‘you are not welcome here and you robbed yourself of the right to feel entitled by cheating to gain advantage while pretending your success was genuine’. There are many ways athletes could do that if they had the backing of federations truly committed to changing the culture and insisting on clean sport.

Mike Smith

Now this sounds totally different then previous comments. Thank you for the explanation and clarification. Now I may agree actually with you.
Just a simple question, would you include Jessica Hardy into that group also? So if she wins the medal in Rio (and I am pretty certain she will), other athletes should step down and not go to the podium?

Craig Lord

Mike, I think the reason why few would like to see Russian track and field back in so soon is very clear – and why ‘Russia’ would be targeted for singling out if the blazers simply backtrack and forgive all the woe without evidence of huge change – and I believe there should be a price to pay for the Russian system for what they have all been up to. Your question about a specific swimmer applies to many: I think there are ways in which fellow athletes could and should be allowed to show the banned athlete returned a cold shoulder; I think authorities have a responsibility to list the cases and explanations and make those a matter of open record for all to see (the difference in cases is a part of understanding, one way or the other). FINA recently removed from the public record all past case files beyond currently suspended “for legal reasons” and “to be fair” to those who cheated. I think that a mistake. I think explanation important and an accessible record of cases should be standard. Those in favour of removing the record point to such things as ‘criminals who don’t have to drag their past through life with them’; but we are not talking about ‘criminal with criminal consequence’. We are talking about a result sheet that lives forever – and that being the case, so should any asterisk or explanation. I think the sport should have a culture in which those who return are not simply patted on the back and welcomed back into the fold like nothing happened.

gheko

So only the Russians are cheating lol get real!

Craig Lord

gheko, no one has said that or written it. your comment is pointless. don’t tell us what you think of things that are neither written nor a part of the experience and knowledge of any of us: tell us what you think should happen next. That would be far more constructive.

Eugene

I’m on a pessimistic side too. The gap between physical culture/healthy life and elite sport has become way too huge. There was a time when being a high-profile athlete was a synonym to being healthy. But now a lot of athletes suffer the same (if not bigger) amount of health issues as those who never did sport at all, as they get older. While those who just maintain fitness by having moderate physical stress in gyms, pools or stadiums without pushing themselves to the limits, are still one of the healthiest and most long-living groups of people.

And doping is one but not only reason for that. Amount of work, which is done by a professional athlete to even have a chance to compete on the highest level, has nothing to do with health in the long run. But no one says: “Hey, let’s ban heavy training!”.

It’s not that I’m against competitive sport. No way. It’s too exciting to not have passion for it. You just have to be aware that there’s always a price you’ll have to pay if you have chosen that path. And when the fastest seconds or heaviest weights become the meaning of someone’s life – it’s either all or nothing. Nearly impossible to resist the temptation of chemical enhancement, especially knowing that someone else is doing it and is still allowed to compete and even get medals.

Too late to fight that, guys.

And of course, even taking into account how much I dislike most of things related to Russia, I have to admit that:
1. There are lots of those who use doping in other countries. I believe there would be no Olympic teams in Rio without those who used illegal drugs throughout the Olympic cycle.
2. Even in Russia there may be people who refuse to get doped.

So it’s unfair to ban the whole nation and make Russia a scapegoat. And it’s absolutely crazy for the others to skip the Olympics just to show how much they hate cheaters. I hope we won’t have another castrated Games.

Craig Lord

Eugene: you say … “You just have to be aware that there’s always a price you’ll have to pay if you have chosen that path.”
Not in the sense you indicate.
Countless are the quotes from leading athletes who are trusted and are adamant they do not cheat or take banned substances of any kind, folk who you are calling liars if your thought is to be stretched to where I think it definitely goes: impossible to win without cheating.
I think you’re wrong. I think there are cheats prospering when they would have no chance without the banned substances… not unheard of those ‘extra’ 20sec and more on a 400IM, as we know. And we also know there are those who don’t need banned substances to win… and not all of them are doing 100k a week old-style GDR these days. (p.s on that thought: I recall doing many a week of 80km plus… I have no health issues many decades on and my heart wakes at a steady 37 yet… I hope it will for some years yet … heavy training for several years can actually promote health – it does not need to harm it – lots of healthy former athletes out there who worked like stink and remain, decades on, very healthy folk … 🙂
In light of the evidence in the WADA IC report and in the complete absence of any evidence that such a systematic approach and wide scale cheating exists in a great many nations you could mention, I think it perfectly fair to take out one nation and set a new tone in the debate, one that does not simply shrug and says ‘well, murder, theft and more happens, so let it be’.
I will let this one comment through for the sake of debate but your point 1 above is wildly far from the truth, in my view, highly unlikely in reality (and your point 2 knocks your own argument down) and has the potential to infringe group libel laws. Please don’t repeat it. (we’ve been here before Eugene: not all world-class swimmer cheat – far from it).
You can’t make a scapegoat out of an obvious cheat. People said that about Armstrong. He’s not a scapegoat: he’s a man who cheated and lied and cheated and lied and did so time and again. He deserved to be banned. And so does the Russian system deserve to be ostracised and dealt with in very clear terms (even if there are – as there will be – others out there getting away with it). A fair few of those cited in the WADA IC report are up to their neck in systematic cheating. That cannot go unchecked without saying ‘ok, all: fine to shred the WADA Code and the Olympic Charter – it’s a free for all’… at which point I won’t need to worry because sport will have lost all its appeal and the risk of deaths, disablement and more that we KNOW to have been a part of elite sport will be on the heads of all who set the ‘no rules’ and all those, like you (or so it seems), who think it thrilling to watch cheats beat each other to death.

Mike Smith

To tell you what should be done….
Firstly, you/we should be fair and not generalize, in our articles and comments. Secondly continue to fight against the drugs in sport but in a fair and civilized way, not with a boycott since boycott doesn’t do any good to anyone. Only harm….
Craig, happy to see a change in your understanding and approach from the first comment to the last.

Craig Lord

Mike, I agree, while continuing to note that it is not unfair to single out Russia (track and field right now but keeping in mind the clear references to other sports … ) in this instance in light of the overwhelmingly damning WADA IC report and in the absence of any evidence of quite the same thing existing anywhere else (if that evidence comes to light, the same fate would and should await those defrauding the rest …). On your choice of “change”: I’m used to setting out my arguments in one piece with full thought. Comments are not my favourite place because if you make point 1 and not point 17, it is often assumed you don’t agree with points 14 and 21 (and there are those who like to read into things things that aren’t there, as I’ve noted elsewhere today). My understanding and stance remain the same, regardless of the sequence of any comments prompted by the thoughts of others, not my own considerations aimed at clarity 🙂

CharlesB

I do not understand all the pessimism that is on display here. It is far from true that everything has been tried and that it has not worked. Clearly, the future of professional and elite sport is in having a global and independent testing body that has the right to test any athlete anytime and anywhere. All those federations who want to take part must sign up and pay up. National bodies can no longer provide the surety required for a level playing field or to ensure child protection. This is what Russia (and others) must ultimately agree too. Remember, we are all born the same but it is the systems that we grow up in that corrupt us. Would you trust China or Russia authorities given their history and recent practices, either in their own countries where they can do as they wish, or in the toilet in the waiting room?

Craig Lord

Quite so, CharlesB. There is a great deal of room for improvement and no reason why good things cannot be achieved. It takes resolve and it takes determination to penalise those who have so obviously done wrong, without recourse to the playground argument ‘well, they’re cheating too…’ as if that makes it all ok or not worth fighting for a better day.

commonwombat

I have no issue with the suspension of Russian athletics in the light of “what’s gone down” and if that means no Russian T/F presence in Rio, then so be it.

But let this be done on a sport by sport basis and there probably needs to be a global “accepted protocol” on what level of evidence/how many infractions trigger a national “suspension” and for what periods.

And which ever country/federation ‘crosses that line’ is in the sin-bin; no matter who they are be they Russian, Chinese, Brazilian, American, Australian, British or …… Burkina Faso !

As for the suggestion of ‘boycotting the medal ceremony if you have to share it with a Russian’ or “doing a Mexico City demonstration’; I’d really like to be sure that the Russian that you’re “dumping shit on” (and that is what you’re doing) is guilty of doping or other nefarious conduct. Otherwise, its really just cheap and nasty and just setting the stage for “copycat acts” and “tit for tat” behavior …….. end result being that you’ve probably not really sent a message and alienated more than you’ve impressed.

Back to Mr Leonard; whilst his viewpoint on many points is valid and worth hearing; I’m really not sure that his “soapbox” is nearly as influential as he would portray it as being. Yes; his organisation has members in 123 nations but how many nation coaching bodies affiliated …… that contracts down to 13.

Whilst that number includes some of the major swimming nations including USA, AUS, GBR, JAP, CHN (for whatever that’s worth), CAN & GER; its also noticeable that the bulk of these are “Anglosphere” and with the exception of GER, none of the major European nations are present. In other words, it’s easy for critics to portray his organisation as a mouthpiece for the Anglosphere nations especially with its leading lights hailing from those parts.

Craig Lord

commonwombat: I wouldn’t play down the coaches and numbers – it means very little all that kind of stuff, especially in terms of nations. Look at FINA – its boasts vast figures and 200 plus nation members… much of which is worthless when it comes to the crunch (one thing to change a backstroke start rule; another to deal with things such as the Bureau infringing its own constitution and rules, for example) in terms of good governance and all those things that the coaches (and others) would like to see that would shift the emphasis back to serving athletes and the membership and not the interests of blazers, petty or otherwise. I saw a room of nigh-on 700 coaches, many of them significant players and from many countries in the world, not just USA, at the world clinic this year … and everyone of them stood in favour of radical change and supported dumping FINA in favour of an alternative down the road in the absence of a single hint or word that FINA’s leadership intends to do anything other than stick to the status quo and refuse to engage with its membership/listen to their concerns etc etc. I’ve seen a fair few email exchanges involving coaching discussions from around the world, too: there is a groundswell of common opinion that if FINA refuses to engage and submit to review, changed should be forced. That may take various forms, including self-inflicted damage and how far that can go until a tipping point is reached.

The WADA Code and FINA rules do allow for national suspensions on a few grounds, by the way (not just four strikes and you’re out (which has never been put to the test…). Disrepute also stretches to officials, doctors etc etc etc… If you read the Ethics rules, some off that hints at where some may find themselves in trouble at some stage down the line.

Yozhik

It is amazing how people are not listening to each other and are missing Craig’s point. This article is not about if doping is good or bad. It doesn’t discuss if it is ok to commit crime just because your neighbour did it and got away with it. It is not about possibility of finding a golden link within rusted chain. It doesn’t dispute the fact that if one lives within creminal community he/she has no way to ignore the rules and not to be smashed.
Russian goverment was funding doping cover-up system and was promoting PEDs through the coaching system that is still at large degree part of the sport governing process controlled by state. This system was strongly politically oriented and orchestrated from the top. Panem et circenses – that is a proven way get cheap popularity and that is what Kremlin does with sport in Russia. They ignore completely international rules and moral principles. Such behavior is a complete disrespect to what we value in sport. That is exactly same pattern as one can observe in Russian foreign policy. The sanctions should be of the same proportions as economical ones targeting at the state level.
Another story is Mr. Leonard stupid call for boycott (excuse my French). To me it is no different that calling to boycott a jury duty regardless fines and imprisonment after being disappointed by the verdict in O J Simpson’s case.

commonwombat

Thanks for that further info, Craig. On the surface, WSCA does give off the perception of being Anglosphere based and thus being seen as a vehicle for those interests.

The process going forward for swimming WILL, I fear be very messy, with any number of missteps unless we DO see one of these other major sports currently “in the gun” providing some sort of template to work from. Whilst one hopes the latter scenario can prevail; I would not care to wager the price of one beer on it

Craig Lord

Thank you Yozhik – precisely.
A boycott will not happen .. and I wouldn’t wish it to happen (though I do see circumstances where I would change that view – and I suspect that was what JL was speaking to down the barrel of a gun).
The point you make about the system and culture at play is very important to understanding. “The sanctions should be of the same proportions as economical ones targeting at the state level”. Quite so.

pegasus523

The fight is important and must be fought around the world. Not just in Europe, the USA, or Africa………everywhere. Weaker men and women will shake their heads and sit down. Have the strength to stand up, if only to see.

Sport only matters if it is on an even field, contested by equals, with honor going to both victor and vanquished. Competere. Doping violates every ethical principle of Sport, every universal value of morality. The demand for change is on all of us. We can do this; together, for sure.

The WADA IC report will have consequences and must run it’s course for consequences to occur. But every NOC needs to find courage and ask the IOC, “Is there a “next”?”, and brace for an answer.

There’s a lot of hate in the world today and we can’t forget that the evil that came to Paris is not the same evil we see in Sport. Keep perspective.
With a nod to Hemingway, “Our Sport is a fine sport and worth fighting for.”

Craig Lord

Perspective is always important, Pegasus, as is recognising the important parallels: universal resolve is what is required – and human history finds plenty of examples where a better day was reached because people found a way to have the unacceptable replaced by the ‘it’ll never happen’ through the conversion of the latter to the realms of what the majority come to expect as the basic standard and norm (regardless of the fact that bad things will always be with us). As you suggest: “… We can do this; together” … starting with the right moves by those in leadership positions prepared to take a stand, to draw a line and tell those responsible for a raft of ills and woes that need not have been and cannot be (those people being people with whom the leaders I speak of do regular business) that the time has come for deep and meaningful change. In swimming, we are still waiting for that moment.

commonwombat

Beautiful stirring words, Pegasus. Speechifying and stirring written paens are one thing; actually achieving outcomes is far more difficult and far more time consuming.

There is the potential for one of these current scandals to trigger/set certain processes in motion but most likely it will take more time than most of us will like ….. and have plenty of obstacles to overcome.

Whilst we may like to throw mud at certain nations (and with some justification); the fact remains that just about every strong sporting nations have their quota of “skeletons in the cupboard” when it comes to doping infractions and/or administrative malfeasance. Let us be honest, no one likes having their “dirty laundry” aired in public. This will inevitably happen …. but I doubt anyone will be volunteering for that duty !

Maybe there is potential over the next year or so for some legitimate global agreement/protocol across most major sports with regards to the punishment/sanctioning of both individual doping cases and national federations. However, there are significant issues where the international bodies for certain sports are NOT the actual powers in their particular sport with those interests lying with certain professional leagues that have NO real international interests and are loath to abide by any international agreements. Cases in point, the ‘American sports’.

Like Craig, I have significant doubts that certain international bodies are “salvageable” but creating viable replacements is not something achieved just by lofty “mission statements”. They take time …. and political savvy.

pegasus523

Top swimming nations — USA, GBR, AUS, CAN, JPN, HUN, FRA, GER, ITA, SWE? (RUS and CHN disqualified).

Any response from the NOC or NF?

Yozhik

pegasus523, you presented very simple cognitive puzzle – either to continue sequence of items or to find the feature that unites items of sequence. Those countries that you put in parenthesis are spending more money on swimming than any other and there fore are the most influential in bureaucratic offices. Those federations that are outside of parenthesis are sorted by the level of quietness.
I am not sure what you are acctually expecting from them. They all without exception condemned already doping in sport. They all agree that what was reported by WADA IC is unacceptable and has to be punished. They all believe that the level of punishment has to be determine by the corresponding governing body, because that is what it was elected for. This last notion returns us back to the first part of your puzzle.

Lanfranco badia

grazie mister Graig per darmi la possibilità di rispondere a questa rubrica.MI SCUSI PER IL MIO INGLESE NON OTTIMALE PER CUI SCRIVO NELLA MIA LINGUA.Ho letto le oltre 300 pagine della WADA con la quale è stata decisa l’esclusione temporanea della Russia dal partecipare a competizioni internazionali targati IAAF , gran parte fondamentale di questa situazione è stata presa tramite il documentario della tv tedesca ard riguardo al doping presunto di stato della Russia,io mi domando: ma questi russi sono degli incapaci,dopano i loro atleti ma nelle manifestazioni sportive vincono sempre meno:alle olimpiadi di Atlanta la russia fini’ seconda nel medagliere,il massimo l’ottenne alle olimpiadi di Sidney sempre seconda ma molto vicino agli USA CHE VINSERO 36-24-31 TOT. MEDAGLIE 91 CONTRO RUSSIA 32-28-29 TOT.89 MED., da Atene la russia è arrivata terza nel medagliere superata dalla CINA vincendo solo 27 medaglie d’oro a pechino 2008 co0nfermo’ terzo posto 23 vori e 72 medaglie complessive, a londra 2012 giunse 4 superata dalla GB.82 MEDAGLIE IN TOTALE E SEMPRE 23 ORI.insomma doping di stato meno vittorie,se poi la principale accusatrice è una dopata sposata con un rappresentante dell’antidoping russa(che forse non è riuscito ad evitare che la sua consorte fosse trovata a truffare)il tutto lascia molti dubbi soprattutto senza prove reali.Che in atletica leggera i russi sono fra quelli trovati a barare questo è un fatto reale,soprattutto i marciatori e le mezzofondiste,il problema dell’esclusione della RUSSIA DALLE MANIFESTAZIONI INTERNAZIONALI POTREI CONDIVIDERLO SE ANCHE LA FEDERAZIOINE DEI STATI UNITI E DEL KENYA VENISSERO ALTRETTANTO SQUALIFICATE,tante volte queste due federazioni hanno nascosto il doping dei propi atleti.Lo sa che 155 atleti sono stati trovati dopati dal 2008 al 2014 e la IAAF NASCOSE I NOMI. 38 SONO USA 25 KENYA 18 RUSSIA,11 UNITED KINGDOM 2 DEL MIO PAESE ITALIA.HO PARLATO DELL’ATLETICA IN UNA RUBRICA CHE SI OCCUPA DI NUOTO,
PEGASUS HA SCRITTO DELLE NAZIONI TOP NEL NUOTO SQUALIFICANDO RUSSIA E CINA ED IL BRASILE? ALLE OLIMPIADI DI RIO VEDRA’ QUANTE MEDAGLIE D’ORO VINCERA’ IL BRASILE,hai mondiali in vasca corta del 2014 se non sbaglio vinse il medagliere CESAR CIELO ED ALTRI SUOI CONNAZIONALI FURONO TROVATI DOPATI,COME MAI NON SONO STATI SQUALIFICATI?E SUN YANG LO STESSO……MA PER CARITA’ I RUSSI SONO I PEGGIORI. A ME PUTIN MI STA ANTIPATICO se la WADA colpirà solo la Russia tutto ciò mi farà capire che la WADA piu’ che combattere il doping fa solo politica. MISTER POUND ha nascosto il doping di molti atleti specialmente targati USA, Lance Armstrong in testa,se non parlavano alcuni suoi colleghi vedi Landis e Hamilthon oggi staremmo ancora ad idolatrarlo e non esisterebbe il film che parla della truffa,quando LANCE venne al GIRO D’ITALIA del 2009 durante un colloquio intervista io l’accusai apertamente di aver vinto con la truffa lui si arrabbio’ tacciandomi di essere un antiamericano e che lui era il primo a combattere il doping.Il doping purtroppo è sempre avanti all’antidoping,col denaro che circola nello sport si potrà soltanto ridurre il danno se tutti i paesi lo pongono come reato penale,questo lo hanno gia’ attuato la FRANCIA E ITALIA E DAL PROSSIMO ANNO ANCHE LA GERMANIA.PER LE OLIMPIADI DI RIO LA SQUALIFICA DELLA RUSSIA RIENTRERA’ BUSSINESS FOR BUSSINESS MA E’ ANCHE GIUSTO SE SI PERMETTERA’ AD ATLETI IPER DOPATI COME JUSTIN GATLIN DI PARTECIPARVI,GRAZIE MISTER CRAIG DI AVERMI DATO TANTO SPAZIO

Craig Lord

Yozhik, condemning doping is the easy bit 🙂 What are they saying to FINA about its absolute failure to heed warnings (big ones, and in the public domain) about the Moscow lab? Do they think FINA should submit to review, like all progressive organisations should (and many do)? That kind of thing…

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