Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Coe Must Go: No Olympic Spirit

The Olympic Truce goal is worthy of our respect. Though short-lived every four years, we're encouraged to rise above national squabbles and bloodshed.
Ill-conceived Olympic bans & boycotts have been part of world affairs for millennia. The ancient Games are poorly documented, but we find continuing work to impose TRUCE by those with higher vision than the typical "rip the throats out of those goddamn foreign scum."

Sadly, the UK's Lord Coe is a big part of the problem. He and the IAAF Council banned all 68 Russian track & field athletes without data on individual guilt (one Russian woman based in the USA was reinstated on special appeal). Blaming innocent athletes for the crimes of their government bureaucracy was a political decision seriously tarnishing Rio 2016. It diminishes the competition & the medals awarded at these Olympic Games.

As President of the IAAF, Coe has an important & overriding obligation to protect innocent athletes from discrimination. Failing miserably, Coe did not raise his voice against collective punishment -- Sebastian Coe should resign in disgrace.

Throughout 2016, as specially required by the International Association of Athletics Federations, each athlete candidate to the Russian National Team has had to submit to both Russian and international anti-doping controls. But then the IAAF banned all Russian athletes. Surely some IAAF method could have been arranged to ensure athlete integrity (six months in a neutral nation training camp?) -- but bureaucratic & political squabbles sacrificed the athletes. The world is treated to a scandalous tabloid tale of a "mouse hole" at a Sochi Winter Olympics anti-doping centre that purportedly happened years ago and has little relevance to track & field. Anti-Russian media meanwhile condemns that nation for its territorial battles with the Ukraine. Consider the evidence of state-sponsored bribery to secure the Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, London and Tokyo Olympic Games -- that doesn't mean every athlete is dirty. Coe & Co. poor choice of a politicized blanket ban caused great harm, extending to the European Junior Championships and Paralympics. The UK's Lord Coe is a self-aggrandizing political operative lacking respect for the Olympics.

Political boycotts and blanket collective bans harm competition. One of the charming points of Olympic competition is when an underdog suddenly excels and wins. Pompous Sebastian Coe personally owes much to political interference with the Olympic Games. His own Olympic medals were won in 1980 and 1984 -- both competitions severely & artificially limited by boycott. Improve judging & anti-doping monitors. Let's encourage the widest possible competition and support the glories of Olympic achievement.

Let's similarly heed Roerich Pact efforts, where the Banner of Peace should protect our global cultural heritage (also Hague Convention of 1954). Sadly, Taliban atrocities in Bamiyan (Afghanistan), along with Bush/Blair bombing of world heritage sites in Iraq, Syria & Libya, show we've yet a very long way to go before achieving minimal levels of civilized interaction.