Cor­rup­tion, of Olympic pro­por­tions

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Rus­sell Wanger­sky Rus­sell Wanger­sky is TC Me­dia’s At­lantic re­gional colum­nist. He can be reached at rus­sell.wanger­sky@tc.tc Twit­ter: @Wanger­sky.

It might have been the news story about Tour de France of­fi­cials us­ing re­mote sens­ing sys­tems to de­tected hid­den elec­tric en­gines built in­side the shafts of bi­cy­cle frames to help cheat­ing cy­clists win the Tour.

It might have been the whole­sale cheat­ing and in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized drug abuse by Rus­sian track and field ath­letes, a sit­u­a­tion that cur­rently has many banned from the up­com­ing Sum­mer Olympics.

Most likely, though, it was Nor­way’s with­drawal from an Oslo bid for the 2022 Win­ter Olympics that brought home to me that cor­rup­tion is now, if not al­ways, close to en­demic in ma­jor sports. Once, you could ar­gue that there will al­ways be in­di­vid­ual cheaters, those for whom the risk of be­ing caught is worth the chance to “win.” Now, not only are whole teams and coun­tries im­pli­cated in the abuse, but those who over­see the games are part of the gravy train.

The Rio Sum­mer Games be­gin shortly. Ask your­self, then, how the most spe­cial of Olympic guests, In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) mem­bers them­selves, will be treated there.

Here’s a few of the de­mands made for the ben­e­fit of IOC mem­bers ob­tained by Nor­we­gian news­pa­per VG.

Traf­fic lights and traf­fic rules are to be adapted to al­low IOC traf­fic pri­or­ity. The IOC also sug­gest­ing clos­ing schools and en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to take va­ca­tions to limit traf­fic. The ho­tel where the IOC mem­bers would stay must have “24-hour room ser­vice, but­ler ser­vice and wash and press ser­vice” and “all rooms must be kept at ex­actly 20 de­grees at all times.”

On­line mag­a­zine Slate trans­lated more of the IOC de­mands: “They de­mand to meet the king prior to the open­ing cer­e­mony. Af­ter­wards, there shall be a cock­tail re­cep­tion. Drinks shall be paid for by the Royal Palace or the lo­cal or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee. Sep­a­rate lanes should be cre­ated on all roads where IOC mem­bers will travel, which are not to be used by reg­u­lar peo­ple or pub­lic trans­porta­tion. A wel­come greet­ing from the lo­cal Olympic boss and the ho­tel man­ager should be pre­sented in IOC mem­bers’ rooms, along with fruit and cakes of the sea­son. The IOC mem­bers should have sep­a­rate en­trances and ex­its to and from the air­port. Dur­ing the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies, a fully stocked bar shall be avail­able. Dur­ing com­pe­ti­tion days, wine and beer will do at the sta­dium lounge.”

And, of course, “IOC mem­bers shall be greeted with a smile when ar­riv­ing at their ho­tel.”

This, on top of the fact that we’re just past a ma­jor IOC scan­dal where com­mit­tee mem­bers were ac­cept­ing gifts and even bribes for vot­ing for cities to host the games, and the top brass of World Cup soc­cer’s FIFA has been banned from soc­cer for years and the or­ga­ni­za­tion is un­der­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion for cor­rup­tion, rack­e­teer­ing and money laun­der­ing.

Here’s what the IOC had to

Once, you could ar­gue that there will al­ways be in­di­vid­ual cheaters, those for whom the risk of be­ing caught is worth the chance to “win.” Now, not only are whole teams and coun­tries im­pli­cated in the abuse, but those who over­see the games are part of the gravy train.

say about the pullout by Nor­way: “This is a missed op­por­tu­nity for the city of Oslo and for all the peo­ple of Nor­way who are known world-wide for be­ing huge fans of win­ter sports. And it is mostly a missed op­por­tu­nity for the out­stand­ing Nor­we­gian ath­letes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home coun­try.”

Well, it’s also a missed op­por­tu­nity for IOC of­fi­cials to fill their glasses — and, per­haps, their pock­ets — for free.

Be­cause we’re be­yond any sem­blance of hon­est and fair com­pe­ti­tion. The com­pe­ti­tion now is for those who cheat best.

Nor­way’s only do­ing what we all should do, un­til things are demon­stra­bly bet­ter in the wide world of sleaze — I mean, sports. Turn it all off.

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