Without doubt Russia’s indefinite suspension from the Olympic Games is the only course of action the IAAF could logically have taken.
President Vladimir Putin claims that for the International Association for Athletics Federation to penalise a nation of athletes for the wrong-doing of some is ‘unfair’…
Every four years, whenever Russia prevails at an Olympic sport – hurdles, 100m sprint, boxing, etc – the entire world it seems awaits the results of the regulation drugs test with pessimistic expectations; some time later the results come back and as we all suspected, affirmative, a positive for illicit substances has been detected, the frontrunners are then shuffled up a place, losers instantaneously become winners, broken hearts are quickly mended, uproar becomes celebration and the world thinks to itself: why, in this age of high performance sports and the rigorous testing that comes with it, are these people still bothering in their futile attempts to bring to the sport their performance enhancing drugs?
…Unfair is fact that the rest of the world has to go through this rigmarole every four years, Mr Putin, unfair is the fact that your nation’s highest quality athletes are predominantly cheats; unfair is the way that so many of your nation’s athletes bring into disrepute the world’s greatest and most enduring sports tournament.
Some argue that the injustice lies in the fact that this suspension precludes every Russian athlete from competing when not every Russian athlete is a drugs cheat; I have no sympathy for a nation of sportspeople who, even after numerous public declarations that a mandatory doping check will be upheld for Olympic Games podium winners, still fail to ensure that all of their fellow competitors are clean and free from illicit substances.
Amid a land where the country’s Government has attempted to raise revenue by promoting the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, yes, President Putin, swallowing this particular pill must leave a terribly bitter aftertaste.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by Russ I Anne
Photography by Doug Sheet