Russian athletes won’t be Putin on any medals

Russian athletes won’t be Putin on any medals

The Russians are coming!

Remember that old movie? Probably not, as you are young and I am not. It was funny though, and played on our inability to see people as people instead of lumping them into one collective boogie man.

This week the news is that the Russians are not coming. To the Olympics, that is.

The Russians are all over the news lately — everyones’ favourite go to fall guy for all sorts of things.

They are accused of meddling in the United States presidential election last year, which although not quite proven yet, certainly seems to be a distinct possibility.

Russia is hosting the World Cup next summer, the world’s biggest sporting event. And even though the North American audience may be down a little seeing as neither the Canadian nor American teams qualified, the world wide audience will be huge.

It’s another chance for good ol’ Vlad Putin to showcase Mother Russia, after hosting the Olympics in 2014. Russian athletes had great success at those games, bringing much glory to the motherland. But now it seems that glory might be tainted.

The Olympics might just be a dirty word in Russia these days, as the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday it is banning the Russian Olympic team from the Games in February in Pyongchang, Korea, due to doping scandals.

In other words, Russian athletes won’t be Putin on any medals in Korea to the sound of their anthem.

If proven clean, Russian athletes can compete under an international flag, but that’s not going to bring glory to the homeland. No Russian anthem will be played, no medal will officially belong to Russia.

Up to now there are 26 Russian athletes who have been sanctioned by the IOC for doping at the 2014 Games. The IOC calls it a systematic conspiracy, involving not just the athletes but anti-drug regulators and government officials to falsify doping results.

The Russian response is a popular one these days — fake news! Yup, the Russians claim the IOC is making it up, fabricating evidence to make Russia look bad.

But no matter how much they argue, they will be doing it instead of skating, luging, skiing, curling, playing hockey and more. Now of course your first reaction might be, Huzzah! more medals for us. And this is indeed true. The Winter Olympics are the Games where Canada does well and Russia is a power in hockey and figure skating especially, as well as cross country skiing, speed skating and more.

Without the Russian team, some medal positions become much more open. And, if the athletes were doping, it isn’t fair that those medals go should go to them. But pity the poor Russian athlete who has played fairly and dedicated his or her life for a shot at the Olympics. It’s a big deal, and for those athletes, a pretty raw one.

Even for those who attend the Games, competing under an international flag,which Putin has said he will allow, will there be the same endorsement opportunities back home? The same opportunity to be rewarded for bringing honour to Russia? It doesn’t seem likely.

It will definitely give the Games a different feel, without the powerhouse Russian team. And dare I say it, it takes a little tarnish off the gold, silver and bronze.

I remember 1980, when the Americans led a boycott of the Soviet Olympics in protest over the invasion of Afghanistan. (Doesn’t that seem like a quaint notion now, by the way?) Then the Soviets responded by boycotting the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. To me, and to many others, those Games were lessened because the best of the best were not all there.

Will that be a cloud hanging over the Pyongchang Games?

Perhaps a better question is, will that be the only cloud hanging over Pyongchang? Because lurking just to the north is another dark cloud who goes by the name of Kim Jung Un. Just what has he got planned for the Games?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP seeking driver of burnt out car found on HaHa Creek Road

Cranbrook RCMP are looking for the driver of a vehicle that was found on fire Monday

Starting in January of 2021, the RDEK will be removing yellow bins designated for glass collections. East Kootenay residents will be able to recycle their glass at one of the many Recycle BC depots across the region. (RDEK file)
Changes coming to RDEK glass recycling program

Starting in January 2021, glass will no longer be collected through the yellow bin program

Heather Smith has managed the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank for many years. File photo
Kimberley continues to support the Helping Hands Food Bank

Applications for grocery vouchers in lieu of Christmas hampers still being accepted

The view from the mountain cam at the top of the NorthStar quad on Friday, November 27, 2020. KAR file.
KAR outlines plans for safe ski season in Zoom meeting with Kimberley business community

The Kimberley Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom meeting on Thursday, Nov.… Continue reading

Seven Deers carved Shinning Raven Woman out of Labradorite harvested from the Canadian Shield. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Sculpture by Indigenous artist to be erected in Grand Forks

Civic leaders have rallied behind the project by Grand Forks’ David Seven Deers

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read