Rio de Janeiro – The International Olympic Committee has decided not to ban the entire Russian Olympic Team after all, amid its doping controversies.
Doping in Russian sports is a state-sponsored practice. On November 2015, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) chose to suspend the All-Russia Athletic Federation temporarily as retaliation for the systematic doping.
As the Rio 2016 Olympic Games came closer, the IAAF stated on June this year that only Russian athletes who were tested outside their country under very restrictive measures could be allowed to participate in the Olympics, with the condition that they would not compete under the Russian flag.
Later on, the International Olympic Committee although upholding the decision of the IAAF stated that the suspension did not apply to the Russian Olympic Committee, so any athletes that followed and passed the IAAF’s strict doping test could compete under their national flag.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) got into the controversy, re-stating that only “individual” athletes –not competing under the Russian flag- could participate in the Olympics. On June 23, the All-Russia Athletic Federation went before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, claiming the ban was “discriminatory.”
On July 20, the Russian Olympic Committee named a provisional team of 386 athletes for the Rio Games. The next day, the Court upheld the ban on Russia’s track and field athletes, leaving only 68 people left to compete.
After much speculation, the International Olympic Committee decided not to ban the entire Russian Olympic Team, following the doping scandal. Instead, individual sport’s governing bodies to decide if Russian competitors are clean and should be allowed to take part.
This decision could lead to massive inconsistencies. The International Weightlifting Federation, for example, would likely ban Russian athletes wholesale, since that is the sport with more doping cases. Others, such as the International Judo Federation (IJF), want to let as many as possible into Rio.
“The presence of Russian athletes is very important, as the Russian Judo Federation is a prominent member of the International Judo Federation, with Russian judo playing a great role in the history of sport, ” stated Marius Vizer, the president of the IJF.
Re-tests for the Beijing and London Olympics
On June 22, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a statement, claiming that 45 different athletes tested positive for doping during a re-test of samples from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.
As if it were not enough, the IOC also found that 23 of the total 30 Provisional Adverse Analytical Findings from the Beijing games were top medalists. The studies were done by using “A” samples that came from eight different countries across four different medaled sports.
The London games also were retested with conclusive showing that 15 athletes’ secondary samples were shown to be doping positive. The data used were 138 samples from nine different countries and two different medaled sports.
The announcement proves that an astonishingly high amount (98%) of athletes from 2008 through 2012 proved positive for doping. So far 1,243 doping samples from both Beijing and London were reanalyzed.
An official announcement was made, stating that any athletes who are found guilty of doping in 2016 will be banned from the Rio Olympics.
The Athletes’ Village is ‘uninhabitable’
As if the doping controversy was not enough the Australian Olympic Committee arrived in Rio de Janeiro to found out that the athletes’ village is apparently uninhabitable in the short term.
The Australian Olympic Committee stated that there were issues with leaking pipes, blocked toilets, unlit stairwells and spot flooding. The Australian athletes will continue to work from a nearby hotel.
The Rio organizing committee has sent to great emergency teams of repair staff and cleaners, but it is still uncertain when the village will be available for use.
Were the Rio Olympics a bad idea?
After the Brazilian World Cup two years ago, many left wondering if the country could handle hosting the Olympics. There were fears that that infrastructure would prove to be significant and perhaps insurmountable, and that it will mean an unprepared Olympics Games.
Rio’s acting governor Francisco Dornelles declared this month a “state of calamity” over the city’s financial problems. There are denounces that police officers cannot handle the touristic influx, which is worrisome in a country with high crime rates like Brazil.
The Rio Police Department have stated that lack ink or paper for printers, lack of water supply and even lack of toilet paper. “How are people going to feel protected in a city without security?” claimed Dornelles.
Another cause of concern is the Zika epidemic, which has lead 18 golf players to decide to skip the Olympics.
Human Rights defenders have also denounced forced evictions in Rio, in a government attempt to “clean up” the city’s slums. According to figures from Rio de Janeiro city government, only 344 families were resettled. Many NGOs have stated that these resettlements affected the victims’ mental health and job opportunities.
Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald