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The one story line that still plagues me…

 

The Rio Olympics despite all of the issues and concerns have gone off as the great games should. With great competition, fantastic story lines, pleasant surprises along with heartbreak, honour, patriotism and sportsmanship.

┬áThe story that plagues me – The Russian doping scandal.

For the record I am a HUGE Anti-Doping supporter and I have some questions.
First, how in the hell did they pull it off – how did they think they would get away with it?

Maybe a better question ….WHY in the hell did they even try in this day & age of WADA…the blood passport system…the watchful eye of international & social media… and the massive push for clean sport?

Though we may not be able to answer these questions without getting deep inside the Russian sporting system what we can do is respond appropriately.

So what is the appropriate response to what may very well be the worst case of doping in modern history?
Was the IOC right in allowing some of the Russian athletes to compete or should they have sent a firm message and banned the entire team.

The International Paralympic Committee took a hard stance and banned the entire Russian Paralympic team from the games.

There is no question, there are clean athletes in Russia.
Do they get punished for something they did not do?

In my mind, if there is a positive test or irrefutable evidence of doping – an athlete should be banned from competition.
Without a positive test or evidence – cleared for competition.

It seems quite simple.

I am not a fan of punishing athletes who did not participate in the doping program but I am also all for harsher punishment for the athletes, organizers and anyone who was part of putting it together and pulling it off.

In my time working in professional sport I have had powerful conversations with athletes who will not cheat or turn to the dark side of doping in sport.
Whether it be morals or ethics that drive these clean athletes to honour the sprit of clean sport they could be classified as victims, losing opportunities, even jobs to those who will cheat, cut corners and dope.

For those of you that know me or listen to the radio show, you know my stance on athletes who have had positive tests.

No Hall of Fame for athletes with positive tests.

Now, I am not talking a positive test due to cold medicine or tainted supplements I am talking doping, PED’s, steroids, testosterone, growth hormone.

The argument for lifetime bans is also gaining steam.

As we better understand the long term impact of doping it is clear that the benefits of doping can last for long periods of time – even a life time.

Check out this great article by Wency Leung in the Globe and Mail:
IPC worries Rio has run out of money ahead of Paralympic Games

So do athletes who test positive deserve a second chance?

Lots of questions here but with all that has been done in the war on doping and to push clean sport forward we still have those who dare to test the system and risk it all to maybe gain an edge.

There is plenty at stake, million dollar contracts, fame and fortune…it may be worth the risk.

On the other hand, there is plenty at stake, million dollar contracts, fame and fortune…it may be time for harsher punishments.

Jeff

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