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The Idler Magazine of 1758, tells of the untruths indicated due to war. It reads, “…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth. By the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”

In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson said, “The first casualty when war comes is truth. In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby wrote, “When war is declared, truth is the first casualty.”

Perhaps the two superpowers are led by the pathological…

Valdimir Putin signs decree

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree. It reads that the new World Friendship Games will be held every four years starting in 2024. For the first edition of the modern era of the twice-failed enterprise in Moscow and Yekaterinburg.

The 2024 edition will happen from September 15 to September 29.

The website reads, “The 2024 World Friendship Games will be the first multi-sport event under the auspices of the International Friendship Movement. And will feature competitions in 25 summer sports.

The only criterion for participation is the athlete’s own sporting performance. The 2024 World Friendship Games will feature a completely new competition format.”

The aim of the games is to ensure the “free participation of Russian athletes.”

There will be 20 Olympic and 10 non-Olympic events contested.

The IOC reacts

Apparently, the idea is that the Friendship Games are not an alternative to the Olympics. However, the timing matches that of the 1984 Los Angeles boycott. It was an answer to the West’s boycott of Moscow in 1980. The decree stating that the new games offer free participation of Russian athletes sure smells like an alternative to the Olympics.”

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach said, “The Russian government accuses us of not maintaining political neutrality. At the same time, this same government is trying to organize a completely politicized sporting event.”

The Director of National Olympic Committee (NOC) Relations, James Macleod responded. He said the International Friendship Association (IFA), will host the Summer and Winter World Friendship Games in the same year as the Olympics. “It is a political organisation funded by the Russian government.”

“Considering the increasing politicization of world sport, we would ask that all NOCs exercise caution with respect to this initiative. Indeed, any NOC involvement in the World Friendship Games would not only go against the IOC EB’s recommendation of 25 February 2022 with respect to international sporting events being held in Russia but also against the Olympic Movement’s collective aim of maintaining the independence and autonomy of sport” said Macleod.

Bach reiterated the need for unity in the sporting world against a backdrop of increasing geopolitical tensions when he received guests to the 2023 International Federation (IF) Forum in Lausanne earlier this month.

Friendship Games reacts

“The World Friendship Games must become one of the emblematic events in the international sports arena; it is not an alternative, but a commercially attractive competition for the elite of world sports,” said Marat Filippov, secretary of the Presidential Council of the Federation for the Development of Physical Culture and Sports.

The BRICS Games

The general director of the Games Alexey Sorokin said “I note that there will be a large prize pool. We feel the demand from the international community for depoliticized Games. They should unite countries that are ready to compete without regard to politics. The only criterion is the results. We are not replacing the Olympic Games; it is rather a powerful addition to world competitions,” he said.

Russia will also host the BRICS Games from June 12 to June 23, 2024. So, will take place one month prior to the Olympics. It will take place in the Tatar capital of Kazan. The original members of the group were Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Apparently new members are Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

*Cover photo by © IOC/Christophe Moratal

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