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?

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Ryan McKenzie of the Kimberley Trails Society made an in-depth presentation to City Council describing the initial steps of the Electrify the Mountains eBike trails project. This is a look at the project one map.
Kimberley City Council hears details on Electrify the Mountain project

At the meeting of City Council on Tuesday, June 8 Ryan McKenzie… Continue reading

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the 2021 BC Summer Reading Club. Kimberley Public Library file
Kimberley kids invited to join summer reading club at Public Library

The Kimberley Public Library invites kids of all ages to join the… Continue reading

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

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

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read