It’s almost time for the Olympics and the big question (beyond details like will they finish the athlete’s village), is whether or not to bar the entire Russian team from participation. Stunning. On the news, I’ve heard about a state-sponsored conspiracy involving a network of spies. This is right out of one of those John le Carré novels. Based on news reports yesterday it looks like the powers that be are too weak-kneed to dig their heels in.
Of course this isn’t to say that athletes from other countries don’t dope, only that the Russians have been organized about it. Over time we’ve learned that doping is endemic in amateur sport.
I’ve joked before that the amateur sports mandarins seriously consider changing the rules. Let everybody dope. Make it a team effort, the athlete and the pharmacist. At least then everybody plays by the same rules. May the athlete with the best cocktail win.
What’s important in amateur sport? Is it winning? Money? Endorsements? National pride? Being the best you can be? Striving for excellence? It must be heart-breaking for a clean athlete to compete, knowing he or she shares the playing field with cheats, many of whom are going to get away with it.