“The decision regarding Russian participation and the confusing mess left in its wake is a significant blow to the rights of clean athletes.” — Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency
Between the threat of the Zika virus—and the Olympic-sized mistake of allowing state-sponsored, doped Russian athletes to participate in Summer Games in Rio—the purpose of national pride (and universal sportsmanship) has been utterly undermined. Last Sunday, less than two weeks before opening ceremonies commence, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has let the USSR off the hook. An interesting call given both clear forensic evidence of the substitution of steroid-laced urine at a Russian-controlled lab in Sochi in 2014, and the recent discovery of systematic doping of the Russian track and field team. Despite this pattern of corruption, the IOC will permit Russia's 28 sports federations (governing each individual discipline) to decide who participates? Well, that sounds above board, doesn't it?
For similar wrongdoing, Russian tennis star (and five-time major champion) Maria Sharapova has been suspended from the WTA for two years. Naturally, she's appealing the determination (and consequently will not appear in the Games). Yet, given her deep pockets as founder of high-end candy brand Sugarpova, perhaps she can use the same sweetener that has magically reinstated her fellow countrymen? Apparently, green changing hands really is worth gold at the Summer Olympics.