Cheaters Never Win!
“Cheaters Never Win”, at least that’s what we were taught when we were kids. But, looking at the world around us, I question every day whether that’s true or not anymore.
When I read today’s news about the punishment that was meted out against Russia by the IOC for cheating by doping, a faint ray of hope reappeared.
Yes, it was announced today that Russia’s Olympic team has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. If there are any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.
What did Russia do to deserve this punishment? They were found guilty of systematic doping. That is, doping was not just being done by individual athletes, doping was being done across multiple sports and was condoned by Russian officials. The International Olympic Committee reiterated what had been known for more than a year and handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history. This programmatic doping was so widespread and organized that it rivaled the notorious program conducted by the East Germans throughout the 1960s, 70’s and 80’s.
How did they cheat? Russia organized an elaborate overnight operation at the 2014 Sochi Games. The team assembled by Russia’s sports ministry tampered with more than 100 urine samples to conceal evidence of top athletes’ steroid use throughout the course of competition. More than two dozen Russian athletes have been disqualified from Sochi standings as a result, and Olympic officials are still sorting through the tainted results and rescinding medals.
Why would a country like Russia go to that much trouble to have your athletes be able to use steroids? Why? Because they work and give these athletes an unfair competitive advantage. For Russia, this was a sure way (they thought) to give fodder to their propaganda machine to give the world the impression that the Russians are world-class athletes.
A very close friend of THF was the lead investigator for WADA when this conspiracy was uncovered. Jack Robertson led the Russia investigation as well as the look into Lance Armstrong’s cycling cheating. I am proud to tell you that Jack was the recipient of THF’s highest award, the Legacy Award, for this work as well as the investigative work on steroids that he had done with the DEA in his previous assignment.
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