This de­ci­sion has set the gold stan­dard for all bod­ies

Par­a­lympians bring ex­tra hero­ism but are not above cheat­ing,

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - writes Paul Hay­ward

From Par­a­lympians to pari­ahs. You would a think a dis­abled ath­lete has enough ob­sta­cles in life with­out be­ing pressed into a state dop­ing pro­gramme and then thrown out of the Par­a­lympics when the whole sor­did con­spir­acy comes to light.

For a minute or two in Rio, it was tempt­ing to dwell on the cru­elty of Par­a­lympians be­ing ex­pelled from a fes­ti­val they have spent four years work­ing to­wards. But then a deeper urge took hold to ap­plaud the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee for hav­ing the courage to take a step the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee was too weak and com­pro­mised to con­sider.

Of the 389 Rus­sian ath­letes en­tered for the Rio Games now fill­ing our screens, 278 have been waved through to com­pete. On Satur­day, Rus­sia won their first gold medal – Bes­lan Mu­dra­nov, who took gold in the men’s 60-kilo­gram judo. With the white flag flut­ter­ing over the IOC, it must have been tempt­ing for Par­a­lympic sport to join the sur­ren­der.

In­stead, it took a de­ci­sion that sets the gold stan­dard for all gov­ern­ing bod­ies, ex­pelling Rus­sia en bloc for the crime of or­ches­trat­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal cheat­ing from the top down.

The IOC tried to cast this as an easy choice. Its spokesman Mark Adams said: “There are some very

‘It chal­lenges our habit of see­ing every Par­a­lympic story as a tri­umph over ad­ver­sity’

dif­fer­ent is­sues. There’s only one Na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee in Rus­sia, there are not many na­tional fed­er­a­tions. They [the IPC] only have one na­tional fed­er­a­tion to deal with so they have to take a blan­ket de­ci­sion.” Nice try. In real­ity, the Par­a­lympic au­thor­i­ties took the tougher step.

Sir Philip Craven’s scorch­ing lan­guage ex­presses a se­ries of burn­ing truths that the Krem­lin­daz­zled IOC tried to ob­scure. He talked about “a state-run sys­tem cheat­ing the ath­letes”, of a “dop­ing cul­ture pol­lut­ing Rus­sian sport”, and said that “the Rus­sian govern­ment has cat­a­stroph­i­cally failed its Para-ath­letes. Their medals over morals men­tal­ity dis­gusts me.”

Craven, the IPC pres­i­dent, says it has in­for­ma­tion on 45 sam­ples re­lat­ing to 14 ath­letes. Twen­ty­seven sam­ples re­late to eight of the sports on the Par­a­lympic pro­gramme. They have in­ter­preted these fig­ures as clear proof that Par­a­lympic sport has de­scended into the same morass as Olympic dis­ci­plines.

To think Par­a­lympians are ‘above’ cheat­ing be­cause it would vi­o­late the ex­tra hero­ism they bring to sport was al­ways un­re­al­is­tic. The temp­ta­tion to dope is just as strong. This ver­dict chal­lenges our habit of see­ing every Par­a­lympic story as a pure tri­umph over ad­ver­sity. But most still are. We owe it to the clean ones to re­mem­ber that.

Equally, the peo­ple who run world sport owed it to hon­est ath­letes to ex­pel Rus­sia, a rogue state in this re­spect. The Olympics lacked the guts to do it. The Par­a­lympics are made of sterner stuff.

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