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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Times on July 27)

All News 07:16 July 27, 2016

Dopey Olympics
Shame on the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and its President Thomas Bach!

International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, a former German national fencer, should resign as leader of the world sports governing body. In this tragic stage for sports as we know, Bach looks the part of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeasing Adolf Hitler of the Third Reich, played by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. A historic irony here is too much to ponder.

Bach and the IOC have made the Olympics a sin game by looking away from the state-sponsored systematic doping of Russia and allowing their athletes to participate in the Rio Summer Games.

Bach came up with the lame excuse of protecting the rights of Russian athletes who were not using performance enhancing drugs and delegated the duty to individual sports' associations to decide whether to ban the Russians in their disciplines or not. These associations are under less scrutiny and more susceptible to Russian lobbying than the IOC. With less than two weeks to go before the Rio Games, they don't have time to conduct checks, meaning the Russians are coming, doped or not.

The cardinal sin by the IOC and Bach is not their cowardliness with which they pander to Putin's power politics and plutocracy.

Neither is it the fact that it shows how the IOC is rotten to its core. After all, corruption ― bribes, sex and rivalry ― is one of the many names attached to the organization famed for its mafia-style operation under Juan Antonio Samaranch.

But Bach's greater sin deprives the IOC and the Olympics of the last remaining hope that the true human spirit of competing to excel on a level playing field is still achievable and allows a state power to make robots out of athletes to sate an individual's whim or promote his megalomaniac ambitions.

Now, what would the IOC tell the athletes who shoot themselves up with the latest cocktail of performance drugs and blow world records? If the IOC bans any druggy athlete who is not Russian, it would be an act of extreme hypocrisy. Rather, the chance is that other athletes and their nations could take it as an invitation to use more drugs.

Then, the health of athletes who use drugs is also at stake. Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, a runner, claimed that cocktails of drugs were delivered to athletes from the state labs with the same casualness by which pizzas are delivered.

Another concern happens outside professional arenas. Sports are a big part of education that teaches kids and adults to play by the rules and respect their opponents. Now, looking at drugged athletes getting away scot-free will obviously carry the message, "Cheating is good."

The damage appears to be too big for the IOC and Bach to bear alone.
(END)

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