Posts Tagged ‘Doping’

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided not to serve Russia with a blanket ban from the upcoming Rio Olympics (they start 5 August). This, despite the finding of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that wide-spread doping was (is) being conducted in Russian sport with the implicit knowledge and cooperation of the Russian government and sports authorities. I am flabbergasted that the IOC has been so spineless.

Doping is ruining sport. In almost any event which involves a test of speed or endurance or strength, one can only wonder how clean a winning athlete is. When all eight of the athletes who started the 1988 mens’ 100 metres sprint were later found guilty of having taken performance enhancing substances at some point, and when a two-times drugs cheat like Justin Gatlan is still allowed to compete in athletics, the world of sport is in serious denial if it thinks that it is not in crisis.

Thankfully the IAAF has been a bit more bold; Russia is banned from competing in the athletics (track and field) at the Rio games. Individual athletes can, as I understand it, make an appeal against this blanket ban if they feel they can prove that they are and have been clean. The IOC should have done the same thing. By not doing so they have ducked the issue, in my opinion.


Russia has escaped a blanket ban by the IOC from the Rio Olympics.

For me it is very sad when one watches the Olympic Games, one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, and one wonders how many of the athletes in each final are clean, and how many have managed to beat the testing system. Russia has been shown to have a state-sanctioned doping system, the evidence gathered by the WADA investigation is overwhelming. For that, Russia should be banned from the Olympics. No ifs or buts. An outright ban, until it can be shown to have cleaned up its act. The IOC has missed a big opportunity here to send out a clear message that doping should not be tolerated in sport.

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It has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated interviews in the sporting world in a long time. On Thursday evening, 9pm EST/PST (2am Friday Dinsunited Kingdom time), the Oprah Winfrey Network will transmit an interview with the cycling legend Lance Armstrong. For those of you who’ve been living in a cave for the last 15 years, Armstrong is the cyclist who came back from cancer and went on to win cycling’s most prestigious race, the Tour de France a record 7 consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.

Lance Armstrong is to appear in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her channel on Thursday evening.

Lance Armstrong is to appear in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her channel on Thursday evening.

Lance Armstrong is due to appear in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday evening.

Lance Armstrong is due to appear in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday (17/01/2013) evening, 9pm EST/PST.

A few months ago I blogged about the news that Lance Armstrong had been labelled a cheat in an official US Anti Doping Agency report. In that blog, I put a link to a radio show (still available here) which had been put together by BBC Radio 5, in which some of the details of the evidence against Armstrong were given. Then, in December I read the book by Tyler Hamilton, entitled The Secret Race. Hamilton is a former teammate of Armstrong on the US Postal Service cycling team. The book gives details of the cheating Armstrong undertook in his racing career. After reading the book, any residual doubt I had that Armstrong had not cheated were gone; the level of detail Hamilton gives in his book of his former teammate’s efforts to dope leaves one in no doubt that the book and its allegations against Armstrong are true.

Tyler Hamilton's book "The Secret Race", which details his and Lance Armstrong's history of doping.

Tyler Hamilton’s book “The Secret Race”, which details his and Lance Armstrong’s history of doping.

The Oprah Winfrey interview has, at the time of my writing this, already been recorded. Although the Oprah Winfrey Network is remaining tight-lipped about the details of the interview, Oprah Winfrey has already gone on TV in America and said that some of his answers to her questions were “unexpected“. Rumours have begun that Armstrong does indeed confess to having taken performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career, which even in itself will be a first.

Oprah Winfrey has told CBS that Armstrong confesses to doping in her interview with him.

Oprah Winfrey has told CBS that Armstrong confesses to doping in her interview with him.

Armstrong has not only repeatedly denied ever having taking performance enhancing drugs, but he has pursued those who imply that he has. This includes journalists, newspapers and other cyclists. One of the questions about how far he will go in his confessions in this TV interview is how many cycling and sporting officials will be implicated in what must have been a sophisticated cover-up. Armstrong was too valuable to cycling to be exposed during his career. Not only did he make millions of dollars personally, but he made professional cycling a rich sport. The feeling is that some high-up officials in both cycling and, possibly, the Olympics’ governing bodies, were part of the effort to make sure his doping remained a secret. It has even been suggested that, if cycling’s governing body is implicated in the cover-up, the Olympics will drop cycling as one of its sports.

The interview will be fascinating viewing, but the next few months should be too as the repercussions of his confessions unfold.

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