So a few Russian athletes have been accused of doping. In some cases this is undeniable, in others it is debatable. Nowhere, in any database, in any investigation or laboratory, is there evidence that all Russian sportspersons are guilty of doping, so under the precept of international law that a person is innocent until being proven guilty...
It makes no sense to ban innocent athletes. However the Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a blanket ban imposed on the entire Russian field and track (athletics) team by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the talk of the town this weekend is whether the entire Russian Olympic team will be banned. This, after it is apparent that not all members of the field and track events were involved in any type of doping in any way, shape or form.
This, after the Russian Athletics Federation has done everything within its power to ensure that the Russian field and track team could compete at the Games. This, when in the last six months, in January, in February, in March, in April, in May, in June, all, I repeat all Russian athletes underwent tests for doping following the recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA. This, when all the so-called evidence is based on the testimony of one single person, Grigory Rodchenkov, whose own reputation is described as scandalous inside Russia, and against whom criminal accusations were levelled precisely for breaching anti-doping legislation. But guess who (Canadian) professor Richard McClaren believed, and made his accusations against all and sundry in his puerile report, even making accusations without presenting evidence, for instance against the FSB?
Conclusion: Western justice at its best. Does anyone remember the howls of derision when the Soviet Union boycotted the LA Olympics in 1984 and accused Russia of mixing politics and sport? Where were those voices in 1980 when the west boycotted the Moscow Games because the USSR sent forces to help the beleaguered Afghan government to fight western-sponsored terrorists? And where are those voices now?
Remembering that WADA is funded by the Executive Office of the US Presidency, let us then read through a collection of doping reports. Since Lord Coe is so vociferous in expressing his satisfaction at the banning of the Russian athletics team, maybe we can start with the UK?
OK then here goes. I am going to leaf through a collection of anti-doping reports in alphabetical order picking and selecting some of the cases, not all, under letters A to D and will stop after five minutes.
Ali Adams (Boxing, Stanozolol); David Allen (Rugby League, Metabolite of cocaine); Ijah Anderson (Soccer, cocaine); Chris Armstrong (Soccer, cannabis); Michael Banbula (Boxing, Performance enhancers); Ryan Barrett (Boxing, Methylhexanamine); Alain Baxter (Alpine skiing, Methamphetamine); Terry Bridge, Rugby league, Steroids); Ian Brown (Rugby, Testosterone); Johnathan Bullough (Weightlifting, Methylhexaneamine); Ian Burnham (Water polo, Cocaine); Danny Cadamarteri (Soccer, Ephedrine); Neil Campbell (Cycling, hCG); James Comben (Rugby Union, Methylhexanamine); David Cookson (Rugby Union, Methylhexanamine); Kofi Danso (Basketball, test tampering); Ceri Davies (Rugby, Drostanolone); Tony Dodson (Boxing, Performance enhancers); John Donnelly (Boxing, Benzoylecgonine); Terry Dunstan (Boxing, Performance enhancers); Jamie Durbin (Rugby league, Stanozolol).
I repeat, five minutes of typing, letters A to D. So we have letters E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z to go. Er...Is there any speculation that the entire Team Great Britain could be banned? No of course not. After all, the UK took part in the war crimes in Iraq, interfered in Syria and sent Libya into total chaos after it reached the status of the African country with the highest Human Development Index under Gaddafy.
Let us turn to the USA, again letters A to D.
Andre Agassi (Tennis, Methamphetamine); Darell Alderman (Drag racing, cocaine); Stephen Alfred (Cycling, Norandrosterone, Testosterone, hCG, refusal to submit to doping control); Sadam Ali (Boxing, Cathine) ; A. J. Allmendinger (Auto racing, amphetamines); Lyle Alzado (Football, anabolic steroids); Chris Andersen (Basketball), Frankie Andreu (Cycling, EPO), Abdallah Anwar (Boccia, Hydrochlorothiazide); Lance Armstrong (Cycling, EPO, Human Growth Hormone, Testosterone, Cortisone, Blood transfusions); Sarah Baham (Swimming, refusal to submit to a test); John Barnett (Mixed martial arts, Boldenone); Phil Baroni (Mixed martial arts, Boldenone, Stanozolol metabolites); Doug Barron (Golf, Performance enhancing drugs); Bryan Berard (Ice hockey, 19-norandrosterone); Adam Bergman (Cycling, EPO); Dale Berra (Baseball, Cocaine); Alan Bogomolov Junior (Tennis, Salbutamol); Barry Bonds (Baseball, amphetamines); Stephan Bonnar (Mixed martial arts, Boldenone); David Boston (Football, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid); Ryan Braun (Baseball, human growth enhancer); Matt Bricker (Swimming, Ephedrine); Emily Brunneman (Swimming, Hydrochlorothiazide, Triamterene); Rebekkah Brunson (Basketball, Salmeterol); Rachael Burke (Swimming, Boldione); Enos Cabell (Baseball, Cocaine); Mike Cameron (Baseball, Stimulants); Ken Caminiti (Baseball, Steroids); Jose Canseco (Baseball, Steroids); Roger Clemens (Baseball, Anabolic steroids); Chris Cooper (Football, THG); Kit Cope (Mixed martial arts, Boldenone); Joey D'Antoni (Cycling, EPO); Lindsay Devaney (Swimming, refusal to submit to testing); Jerramie Domish (Ice hockey, performance enhancers)...
Whoops a daisy, a tad embarrassing, what? Now, er...is...is the USA Olympic team to be banned from the Rio Olympics?
Let us be honest about this. I myself had Olympic competing times in the 1970s (specifically between 1974 and 1979) in long distance running, including three consecutive 5-minute miles and a 5,000 meters in 13 minutes and 29 seconds, in 1976. Did we use doping? We used every means possible to enhance our performance, in my case glucose tablets and pasta before the race. Having kept in contact with sports as a hobby, as an observer and as a player, I have a wide range of contacts from various sports modalities and the general perception is that you compete clean but everyone knows someone who goes as near to the legal limit as possible, the bottom line being not getting caught.
This does not mean that everyone uses doping, so it does not mean that the entire Russian team uses doping. Agreed? So why impose a blanket ban on all Russians?
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23