The World’s Clean Adult Athletes Must Protect Themselves
by John Leonard, ASCA & WSCA
With the latest series of rulings by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), it has become clear that the world’s clean swimmers must fend for themselves. The entire “Olympic Circus” exists for the dollars to flow, and all verbiage of “zero tolerance” is utter nonsense. In point of fact, anything that disrupts the flow of dollars via the TV contracts and sponsor dollars is the only thing where “zero tolerance” is actually demonstrated. The primary “mover” of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is “the Games (with our best athletes) must go on”.
Protection of doped athletes, at the expense of CLEAN SWIMMERS, is the reality. The world’s majority of swimmers, who are clean, suffer for the few who pervert sport into “the circus”. They lose money, fame and opportunity due to cheaters in every sort of event. This is not sport, this is IOC “entertainment”.
The athletes are the show. Athletes must band together and demand simple, direct solutions to the doping crisis, or suffer the continuing affronts to their efforts. The “bad guys” are the IOC (ringmasters of the circus) and all downstream from them, including the International Federations, the National Olympic Committees, the national sports federations, and the obviously mis-named World Anti-Doping Association (WADA). CAS is included, protecting the guilty, rather than the innocent, in the name of “fairness”. Utter nonsense.
Some are guilty of crimes against clean athletes by action, others by word, and others by failing to speak out against the outrages of the level above them. In the United States, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) does not demand the end of IOC support of doping, and that of WADA, because it wants the Games in Los Angeles in the next “circus”. Rocking the boat of the IOC does not endear the USA to the IOC. USA Swimming fails to speak out for fear of offending the USOC (one of its major funding sources).
And speaking at some point must give way to action. If you are not being heard, you must be in action instead.
WADA is run by a compromised and conflicted member of the IOC, who would rather the circus go on than do what could have been done to prevent the abuses of the past four years. His excuse: “It wasn’t my mandate.” No, sir, but clearly you should have made it your mandate, if you had “zero tolerance”.
The athletes are the Show; the athletes are the reason for the Olympic Games and the World Championships. Not the TV contracts, not the sponsors; they are the Business. The world does not tune in to watch “business”.
TV will follow the leading athletes. Money follows TV. The top-10 swimmers in the world should demand:
- High Throughput Testing – state of the art, which leaves the cheaters NOWHERE to hide. Not today’s testing of 2016 cheating with technology from the 1950s. To catch the cheaters, use high throughput testing.
- Governance of WADA by uncompromised, dedicated anti-dopers, not by conflicted people who have the IOC as their chief interest. Clean leadership will give you clean anti-doping.
- A WADA paid for without IOC funds. Sport is world-business. The world’s governments must fund a truly independent agency with investigative powers. The IOC funds taint the process with self-interest (“Protect the Games!”).
No one ever wants to see a boycott, but it is time to stop avoiding the word. Do the clean athletes suffer more from losing to cheats or from refusing to participate until the game is clean?
If the world’s top-10 swimmers (and all other sports’ athletes) refused to participate until the game is clean, the Olympic world would conform instantly. There is no game without the world’s best athletes.
The sickening fact is that no one is going to protect you, athletes. It is up to you to protect yourself and your sport. Hard, horrifying facts, clear to all who pay attention.
Time for action.