Entire Russian paralympic team banned from games for doping

This is what should have happened to the Russian Olympic team – a total ban from competition for the entire team.  But the International Olympic Committee wimped out and allowed individual sports federations to determine if Russian athletes are eligible.

It was left to the International Paralympic Committee to do the right thing and forbid any Russian from competing.

There is little doubt that the former East Germany had a government-sponsored regime of drugging and doping Olympic athletes.  A few German officials were banned for their role in the scandal.  But there has never been an investigation that yielded such detailed information about how a national sports authority cheated.

Yahoo Sports:

It’s reasonable to assume some athletes from every country are cheating. That includes the U.S., where our men and women just do it on their own, not via the government. You could look at it as a tribute to our individualism.

The Russians are different that way. In Sochi they constructed a lab next to the official drug testing facility. In the middle of the night they swapped clean samples for dirty ones through a hole in the wall. The entire saga feels like it came from a Russian spy novel, complete with double crossings, double-crossing whistle blowers and mysterious deaths.

“This is not about athletes cheating the system but the state-run system that is cheating athletes,” Craven, the IPC president, said.

At the Sochi Paralympic Games – surprise, surprise – Russia won a whopping 80 total medals, more than three times any other country (Ukraine, 25). It was near total domination. Russia won 30 golds, well ahead of Germany’s nine. The United States took home just two.

A World Anti-Doping Agency Investigation, detailed in the so-called McLaren Report, found not just Olympic cheats but 35 “disappearing positive” tests for Russian Paralympians from 2012 to 2015. Here’s guessing that was just the tip of a Putin iceberg.

Who the heck would try to fix the Paralympics, essentially handicapping rival handicapped athletes? Even for Vladimir Putin that seems weak.

Has Russia learned its lesson?  Yes, but what was the lesson learned?  The Russians have learned that they have to work harder to hide their cheating.  I seriously doubt Vladimir Putin will shelve his hugely successful doping operation.  It is far more likely that the Russian program will simply burrow deeper underground.

There really isn't much monetary value to a nation doing well at the Olympics.  But as a matter of national prestige, it's huge.  Putin was willing to run the risk of being caught doping to elevate Russian athletics across the board.

And that included the disabled athletes who participate in the Paralympic games.

This is what should have happened to the Russian Olympic team – a total ban from competition for the entire team.  But the International Olympic Committee wimped out and allowed individual sports federations to determine if Russian athletes are eligible.

It was left to the International Paralympic Committee to do the right thing and forbid any Russian from competing.

There is little doubt that the former East Germany had a government-sponsored regime of drugging and doping Olympic athletes.  A few German officials were banned for their role in the scandal.  But there has never been an investigation that yielded such detailed information about how a national sports authority cheated.

Yahoo Sports:

It’s reasonable to assume some athletes from every country are cheating. That includes the U.S., where our men and women just do it on their own, not via the government. You could look at it as a tribute to our individualism.

The Russians are different that way. In Sochi they constructed a lab next to the official drug testing facility. In the middle of the night they swapped clean samples for dirty ones through a hole in the wall. The entire saga feels like it came from a Russian spy novel, complete with double crossings, double-crossing whistle blowers and mysterious deaths.

“This is not about athletes cheating the system but the state-run system that is cheating athletes,” Craven, the IPC president, said.

At the Sochi Paralympic Games – surprise, surprise – Russia won a whopping 80 total medals, more than three times any other country (Ukraine, 25). It was near total domination. Russia won 30 golds, well ahead of Germany’s nine. The United States took home just two.

A World Anti-Doping Agency Investigation, detailed in the so-called McLaren Report, found not just Olympic cheats but 35 “disappearing positive” tests for Russian Paralympians from 2012 to 2015. Here’s guessing that was just the tip of a Putin iceberg.

Who the heck would try to fix the Paralympics, essentially handicapping rival handicapped athletes? Even for Vladimir Putin that seems weak.

Has Russia learned its lesson?  Yes, but what was the lesson learned?  The Russians have learned that they have to work harder to hide their cheating.  I seriously doubt Vladimir Putin will shelve his hugely successful doping operation.  It is far more likely that the Russian program will simply burrow deeper underground.

There really isn't much monetary value to a nation doing well at the Olympics.  But as a matter of national prestige, it's huge.  Putin was willing to run the risk of being caught doping to elevate Russian athletics across the board.

And that included the disabled athletes who participate in the Paralympic games.