Russian Ice Hockey players at the last Winter Olympics, wearing the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” jersey. Image from Zimbio

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

27-01-2020: The US Empire’s hybrid war on Russia covers many arenas, extending even into sport. On December 9 last year, the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approved recommendations to strip Russia of the right to participate in major international sporting competitions for a period of four years. WADA also banned Russian state officials, Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) officials and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) officials from attending global sports tournaments. This means that Russia as such will be banned from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the Paralympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the FIFA (soccer) World Cup (!) in Qatar in 2022. In 2016, WADA claimed over 1000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping – without providing credible evidence proving the allegation.[1]

Breathtaking hypocrisy

To say this is a political decision, rather than a sports administration decision, is vastly understating matters. The use of performance enhancing drugs in elite level sports is a global problem, and no country is unaffected by it. But to claim that Russia has a state-sponsored doping program – without evidence – is clearly a geopolitical move by Washington to undermine the nation which is exposing its hypocrisy on many fronts, and thereby even approaching global political leadership. The US ruling class is preparing its people for a possible war with Russia – and this must be preceded by years of extreme Russophobia and propaganda demonising an entire nation. The lies that are required for this are piled upon each other until they form a mountain.

Even the author of WADA’s McLaren report, which was used to ban Russia at previous Olympics and, incredibly, Paralympics, admits that WADA does not have evidence of a state-sponsored sports doping program in Russia. When asked in an interview to respond to Dmitry Peskov’s statement that “as long as there is no evidence of a state-sponsored doping program, it is difficult to respond to accusations, which appear unfounded…”, Professor Richard McLaren stated: “Dmitry’s correct. We don’t have any evidence of a systematic state-wide doping mechanism. [Emphasis added] If we did, we would have published it and so we have to go on the inference.”[2] So the head of the infamous report into “Russian sports doping” himself admits no fault on the part of the Russian government, but also claims that the (unfounded) incendiary accusations must proceed on an inference.

Ever since sports doping became an issue, there has been no shortage of US representatives amongst those who have been found guilty of doping. Remember Carl Lewis, who was awarded the 100 metres gold medal from the Seoul Olympics in 1988, after the winner Ben Johnson was disqualified for using a steroid? Carl Lewis later admitted that he failed three tests during the 1988 Olympic trials, which under international rules at the time should have disqualified him from competing at the Seoul Olympics two months later. However, the automatic ban was overturned by none other than the US Olympic Committee (USOC) ! Carl Lewis’s response to this in 2003 was “Who cares if I failed the drug tests?”.[3] This was just one of the cases at that time that the USOC was accused of covering up and ignoring.

In 2000, Sydney in Australia hosted the Olympic Games. Those games were full of allegations that US athletes had used performance enhancing drugs to win medals. The USOC flatly denied it. Then, several years, later the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) scandal emerged. One of the stars of the Sydney Olympics, US athlete Marion Jones, won five medals including three gold. BALCO head Victor Conte admitted creating drug cocktails, and named dozens of athletes, including Jones. Jones sued Conte for defamation, but in 2007 admitted that it was all true. She received a six-month jail term for lying to federal investigators and was stripped of her medals.[4] The probe which started this was headed by none other than Professor Richard McLaren. Other US athletes at the Sydney games who were suspended for sports drug violations were Regina Jacobs, Alvin Harrison, Michelle Collins, Kevin Toth and John McEwen.[5]

In fact, of the top ten running doping disqualifications in world history, six of them were American.[6] Arguably the biggest doping scandal in cycling history involves US cyclist Lance Armstrong. Between 1999 and 2005, Armstrong won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. Allegations of performance enhancing drug use dogged the latter part of his career, which he denied. It turned out that all of these victories were won while being doped up. In 2013 he admitted extensive drug use throughout his career, and was stripped of a bronze medal he won at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.[7] Despite a wealth of examples over previous decades, there is not even a hint of a suggestion that the USA should be banned from the Olympics, the Paralympics or the FIFA World Cup.

Expose the Empire

Imperialism uses many different means to wage war against its enemies – the military means is but one. Through sport, politics, culture, ideology, the US ruling class is waging a desperate campaign to avoid being outshone by Russia – even as the Russian government itself endlessly attempts to co-operate with the US. Despite this, Russia (with the help of Iran) effectively defeated the US in its regime change war on Syria. Russia was also a prime reason why the US could not regime change Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. In Europe, Russia is doing all it can to defuse the threats posed to it by NATO troop mobilisations on its borders. These efforts delegitimise US imperialism in the eyes of the world’s workers even further, and politically strengthen Russia. Hence, the litany of false accusations of state-sponsored sports doping. If we are to prevent the horror of nuclear war, the world’s workers must side with those states resisting US imperialism.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

[1] https://ahtribune.com/world/europe/russia/3709-banning-russian-athletes.html (27-01-2020)

[2] https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/summer/trackandfield/richard-mclaren-russian-doping-wada-1.3314048 (27-01-2020)

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2003/apr/24/athletics.duncanmackay (27-01-2020)

[4] https://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/ (27-01-2020)

[5] https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/guilty-until-proven-guilty/ri16032 (27-01-2020)

[6] https://www.podiumrunner.com/the-top-10-running-doping-scandals-of-all-time_28190 (27-01-2020)

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/mar/09/lance-armstrong-cycling-doping-scandal (27-01-2020)

 

Olympics 2020: Let the Russians Play!

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