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Friday, December 16, 2016

MICHAEL AVERKO -- More Russia-Bashing On Sports Doping Claim

More Russia-Bashing On Sports Doping Claim
MICHAEL AVERKO | 15.12.2016 | OPINION

More Russia-Bashing On Sports Doping Claim

I've had a series of informal exchanges over Richard McLaren's second report on doping in Russian sports. What follows is a fine tuned version of my impression of that subject. It's in line with the December 10 Duran article «Professor McLaren Again Attacks Russian Sport».
Among the major Western news media venues, the BBC has a well deserved enough reputation for being the most objective. That observation is relative to the competition and doesn't mean that everything at the Beeb is always kosher. 
The December 9, BBC piece «Russian Doping: McLaren Report Says More Than 1,000 Athletes Implicated», is much like the same day televised BBC coverage aired in the US. In each instance, the opening starts out with words like «according and «claims», regarding McLaren's latest report. Thereafter, BBC reporters erroneously present McLaren's observations as facts.
Two unnamed Russian women ice hockey players (highlighted by McLaren and the BBC), along with some other anecdotes are a far cry from conclusively proving an unethically vast state sponsored doping regimen. At the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the heavily booed Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, was clearly not involved in an illicit state orchestrated doping campaign. The booing of Efimova and other Russian athletes at Rio were the result of misinformed individuals (many from English speaking countries), who've readily accepted the suspect claims stated in the media they rely on.

Efimova's first offence involved using an over the counter supplement legally bought in the US (where she has lived and trained), which has some matter banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the sports federations affiliated with it. Her second infraction concerned a drug (Meldonium), that had only recently been banned. Before a panel of non-Russians, Efimova made the case that her use of Meldonium was before it became banned. (Testing can find traces of that drug in a person's body for months after its use has ended.)
Grigory Rodchenkov, the so-called «whistleblower» (who was fired from his Russian sports medicine position for taking bribes to cover up positive tests) hasn't been made available for follow-up questioning. Upon his disgraced dismissal in Russia, Rodchenkov turned up in the US, where he made sensationalistic claims, utilized by McLaren. 
After the release of McLaren's second report, the IOC announced a retesting of Russian blood samples from the 2012 London Summer Olympics and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. As time passes, the testing methodology improves. Hence, a retested negative sample from 2012 could turn up positive years later. If there's a sincere effort to clean up doping in the Olympics, there should be an across the board retesting that includes non-Russian athletes. Any reluctance to do so suggests an insincere effort.
The drive to isolate Russia is factually challenged, if not bigoted. It's fair to believe that North American legal politicos Travis Tygart and Dick Pound wouldn't favor a collective ban if the tables went against their respective nation with the same level of «evidence». An underlying current of arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy relates to the incessant Russia bashing which has been evident.

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