Dirty pool

Journal Pioneer - - EDITORIAL - SaltWire Net­work

In one case, jus­tice took 2,317 long days. In an­other, it took even more time: 3,399 days. But Cana­dian weightlifter Chris­tine Gi­rard fi­nally got to ex­pe­ri­ence jus­tice, and on Mon­day was awarded a gold medal she should have re­ceived at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics and a bronze medal she right­fully won even ear­lier, at the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics.

It is won­der­ful that Gi­rard re­ceived her medals, af­ter not one, not two, but three dif­fer­ent weightlifters - Maiya Maneza and Irina Nekrassova of Kaza­khstan and Svet­lana Tsarukaeva of Rus­sia - af­ter retests of urine sam­ples showed the three tested pos­i­tive for banned sub­stances.

Gi­rard will not get to be able to have the ex­pe­ri­ence of stand­ing at the Olympics and hear­ing the Cana­dian an­them played, which is a true shame for any ath­lete who stayed clean and le­git­i­mately put in the hours of hard work nec­es­sary to be­come an Olympic cham­pion.

Olympic suc­cess is such a fleet­ing thing; af­ter years of ef­fort, there are of­ten only mo­ments of recog­ni­tion. Can any­one out there - with­out us­ing your phone - name any other fe­male weightlifters who medalled in Lon­don? In Bei­jing? Odds are that you can’t, un­less you’re a weightlifter your­self or are re­lated to an Olympian in the sport.

And that brings to mind some­thing else: if na­tions will spend such tremen­dous ef­fort and ex­pense to try and get around drug tests sim­ply to win some­thing as pass­ing as medals, how much more are they will­ing to do to reach other ends, like keep­ing them­selves in power and in­ter­fer­ing in oth­ers’ elec­tions to bring the can­di­dates they ap­prove of to of­fice?

We’re clos­ing in on the next fed­eral elec­tion in this coun­try, and it’s hard to see if the les­sons that should have been learned af­ter Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 Amer­i­can elec­tion have been taken fully to heart.

While the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether there was any col­lu­sion by the Trump cam­paign is still on­go­ing to the south of us, it’s been made abun­dantly clear that the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of Vladimir Putin felt that it had a vested in­ter­est in how the elec­tion turned out, and used con­sid­er­able in­ter­net, bot and so­cial me­dia work to try and sway the way Amer­i­cans voted.

Canada is part of the North At­lantic Treaty Or­ga­ni­za­tion, a close and friendly neigh­bour of the United States, and we have in­ter­ests in the Arc­tic, just like Rus­sia does. All are rea­sons why the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment might be in­ter­ested in hav­ing some ef­fect on our gov­ern­ment and elec­tions, too. Elec­tions, like the Olympics, hap­pen over a rel­a­tively short span of time.

Their re­sults, how­ever un­fair and un­rea­son­able, can linger for far longer, even once the cheaters are caught.

Think about and ques­tion the in­for­ma­tion you re­ceive and that you base your votes on.

The wrong per­son can end up own­ing the podium for far too long.

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