Mark Johnson has written a story for the Washington Post offering a historical perspective on the International Olympic Committee decision on Russian doping.
When the International Olympic Committee announced last weekend that it would not ban the entire Russian Olympic team from next month’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro over allegations of systemic doping, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s chief executive, Travis Tygart, called the ruling a “blow to the rights of clean athletes.”
Tygart is correct: The IOC missed an opportunity to punish nations that put national pride before clean sport.
But Olympic organizers’ reluctance to hammer-throw the Russians is only the latest chapter in a relatively new campaign to change an elite-sport culture that has always enlisted chemistry — both to push the boundaries of human performance and to broadcast the potency of nation-states. When Russians take the field in Rio, they will parade not only state-managed corruption but also the difficulty of imposing chemical-free order on sports.