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Are we moving forward in the fight against Doping?

Peter Zana

Today WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) called for a complete ban of all Russian athletes in international competitions which includes Rio 2016.  This has come from the Mclaren Reports revealing that without a doubt Russia had a state-sponsored doping system for the protection of doped Russian athletes and that there were coverups of Russian urine samples from virtually all sports before and after the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.  From these reports, the Olympic Games have been proven to be tainted.  Which ultimately means that there are clean athletes out there, denied medals they should have won but didn’t because they went to doped athletes instead.

So how should the IOC (International Olympic Committee) respond?  What should be done about this systemic problem that Russia has with doping?  How does the IOC make sure that the integrity of the Olympics is restored? Is a complete ban too harsh of a punishment? I don’t think so. I think it is justified. And WADA agrees, believing a complete ban is necessary.

It appears that Russia has had a culture of doping and that Russian athletes were pressured to dope.  The ban that WADA is suggesting might even help free Russian athletes from the systemic problem of state sponsored doping.  The Olympics bring out the best in both fans and athletes in terms of Nationalism.  Very few athletic competitions bring with it such Nationalistic fervor.  But in this case, it clearly can bring out the worst type of Nationalism.  The type that promotes and encourages systemic cheating, at a cost to a country’s reputation, clean athletes, and of course, the Nationalism it was trying to feed itself.  As I understand it, this ban won’t even hurt Russian athletes who are clean because they still can participate in the Olympics, only under a neutral flag and with much stricter criteria in order to participate.  

By banning Russia from participating, the entity that gets hurt the most from ban is the ‘System’ of doping in Russia.  Russia cares about its image at the Olympics and in order to regain the trust of the International Olympic Committee they need to stop doping.  Taking away their presence at the Olympics will hopefully change the way that Russians feel about doping.  Russia isn’t the only nation that has a culture of doping though.  Hopefully strict action will scare other nations to change their minds as well.

Overall, I support the ban of Russia from international competition. I think there are positive outcomes for both the athletes in Russia and the integrity of the Olympics.

Here’s hoping that this report leads to an outcome that is good for the games and for sports itself.

We here at isplack love to share in the spirit of competition, we love fans cheering for their country’s athletes, wearing Country colors, etc.  But we also value Honesty and Integrity.  Two things sorely lacking in this debacle.  Let’s hope it’s getting better!

Get your colors on!

Cooper Nelson, isplack Intern