© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

“The first casualty of war is truth.”
— Senator Hiram Johnson.

Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) either fails to understand the principles behind not permitting Russian athletes to compete or is manipulating the message.

Bach complimented International Federations (IF) for showcasing events featuring athletes from Russia and Belarus which, he claimed, demonstrated that it “can be done.”

The protestations from media, spectators, national sport organisations and other national and international federations, who he derogatorily refers to as “naysayers,” has nothing to do with being able to put on an event that includes Russians. It has everything to do with the principle of allowing Russia to be represented while they illegally attack Ukraine. Additionally, the Russians are banned due to systematic doping. The latest news from the World Anti-Doping Agency is that the mainframe computer (LIMS) from the Moscow Laboratory is choc-a-block full of Russian athletes’ names who were doping. This is after the Russian Anti-Doping Agency had manipulated the data in the LIMS system.

Either way, there is no good reason to permit Russia into international competition.

Bach was speaking at the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) General Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland.

During his speech, Bach claimed that the autonomy of sport was being “undermined by some governments” and “some forces want to divide our global sports movement” as he called “unity” over the readmission of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals.

A delegation of over 300 athletes and administrators attended the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, while banned. People wondered how that was possible. Competing under the nomenclature, “Russian Olympic Committee” did nothing to hide the name of the country. Where was the suspension?

“I would like to thank the ASOIF Council for its very clear declaration, emphasising the necessity to separate sport and politics,” said Bach.

Bach also doesn’t understand that President Vladimir Putin’s instructions to re-create the Goodwill Games is simply a farce and only a handful of nations will participate. It will be an expensive failure like it was the time it was launched during the 1980s.

The Goodwill Games were created by Ted Turner. It was his response to the political action surrounding the Olympic Games during the 1980s. In 1979, the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan caused the US to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. This was reciprocated when the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries (except Romania) boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Politics in the Olympics (which shouldn’t be), is a constant.

The Goodwill Games were held every four years. However, unlike the Olympics, figure skating, ice hockey and short-track speed skating were part of summer editions. The Summer Goodwill Games occurred five times, between 1986 and 2001, while the Winter Goodwill Games occurred only once, in 2000. They were cancelled by Time Warner, due to low television ratings after the 2001 Games in Brisbane.

The new edition will fare no better.

Bach continued, “Many IFs have organised international sports events and even World Championships, applying the recommendations and very successfully delivering these competitions and you are doing so against the backdrop of the many, I may say naysayers, who want to make people believe that it would never work.”

What Bach is not getting is that no one is saying that putting on an event that includes Russians won’t work. It is the principle of the act of inclusion of Russians and Belarusians in these so-called non-political Games. Bach is either daft or obtuse.