Olympic Games

So the Olympic Games are now underway in Rio. These must be the most controversial games ever, with the lead up blighted by concerns over the Zika virus and pollution.

There had been calls in some quarters to change the venue but this was never going to happen, so then the glossing over the risks had to begin. Never-the-less some athletes still felt it to be of such a concern that they have pulled out of the games. It actually amazes me that, as far as I am aware, none of the sailors have pulled out, despite the fact that if the reports are to be believed they will be sailing in a bay filthy with untreated sewage and sailing carries a high risk of capsize!

On top of all the environmental controversy the subject of doping has also reared its ugly head, with accusations of State sponsored doping and the cover-up of positive blood tests. The Olympic committee decided to rule out a blanket ban on the affected athletes, leaving it up to individual sports to decide. This has allowed a sizeable contingent of Russian athletes to take part. Whilst one does feel sorry for any ‘clean’ athletes who have been banned it also places an element of doubt, possibly unjustly, over those who have been cleared to compete. Are they truly ‘clean’? Can we ever know for sure? This will inevitably take the gloss off any success they may achieve.

The Paralympics committee have taken a stronger line and have brought in a blanket ban for their event in a few weeks time. This obviously has the effect of removing all uncertainty but one has to sympathise with those athletes who are genuinely  ‘clean’. These athletes may feel they have been unfairly treated, but they should point their fingers in the right direction and take action to ensure that their State system is cleaned-up so that they are not excluded in the future.

I have to say I am in favour of the blanket ban and in my opinion this should have been in place for the main Olympics too. A hard-line message has to be sent to the guilty nation, and as a warning to others, that this disregard of the Olympic ethos will not be tolerated. The world cannot allow the greed for medals, a win at all costs attitude, to succeed over honesty, integrity and fair-play.

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