Is IOC President Thomas Bach building an echo chamber filled with yes-men?

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© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

Canadian Dick Pound, who rarely minces words, has been critical of some of the International Olympic Committee’s decisions to do with the Russian doping scandal.

The IOC and Russia appear to be working on returning Russia to the international sporting community. Are they planning to usurp the spirit and or the language of the ban?

It appears it is possible, for starters Pound has been removed as chairman of the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) Board for both its Spanish and Swiss operations. This follows his removal from the influential IOC legal affairs panel announced as part of updated commission lists recently.

Asked if IOC President Thomas Bach is in the process of surrounding himself with people who only agree with him, Pound told Athletics Illustrated, “Well, dissent is not exactly encouraged. Personally, nothing worries me more than an organization in which all decisions are “unanimous.”  The issues are too complex to insist on that.”

The old boys club apparently continues to be an old boys club.

Pound is the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It was his brainchild. He is also a former vice-president of the IOC and has served on several boards and committees for WADA and the IOC over the years. Pound is a partner with the law firm Stikeman Elliot, specialising in tax law.

Starting in 1978, Pound revolutionised the Olympic movement by leveraging very large and lucrative television and sponsorship agreements that he was instrumental in creating; to re-shape the IOC into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

The former Olympic athlete is beginning to pay for speaking out against the IOC and Russia’s relationship during the tenure of this ban.

“The effort to “reconcile” with Russia has been there from the outset,” shared Pound. “Although the direction should be different – Russia should be trying to reconcile with the organization on whose values it trampled, not the other way around.”

Russia continues to show little regard for the spirit of the ban. As recently as the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of the Russian anti-doping laboratory, said he recognised one of the Russian players from his very own doping program. In January of 2018, it was reported that all Russian athletes avoided meeting doping officers and passing anti-doping tests in a track and field competition in Irkutsk. One month later, two more Russian athletes who were competing for the so-called independent OAR or Olympic Athletes from Russia, failed doping tests in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The cheating apparently continues unabated.

Pound isn’t the only one criticising the IOC. Jack Robertson an investigator in the Russian doping program said, “The IOC had issued a non-punitive punishment to save face while protecting the IOC’s and Russia’s commercial and political interests.”

Pound was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992. Japan awarded him Gold and Silver Star of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, which is equivalent to the Order of the British Empire. In 2005, Time Magazine named him one of the World’s 100 most influential people. Thomas Bach in all his wisdom clearly considers Pound expendable.

Perhaps Bach and company are beginning the process of building an echo chamber of yes-men.