As I sat and observed the winter 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea on television over the weekend, a plethora of emotions (like sugarplums) ran through my head. Like everyone gushing over athletes with an African origin, competing in traditionally European sports like speed skating and bobsledding, and the several sneaky and unjust ways that the use of doping laws are loosely applied when it comes to the Soviet Union, Russia, the Soviet Bloc or whatever name that the people and leaders from that part of the world choose to define themselves.
Jerry Brewer posted this on the Washington Post’s website on Feb. 13: “The remarkable and turbulent athletic career of Shani Davis had to die like this. It was going to be slow and lonely and with one last Olympic-size fracas. After a lifetime of fighting—and winning—there was no chance the aging pioneer would exit with a rocking chair tour. For all the complexity we’ve sifted through during Davis’ five Olympics, this may be the most intricate and confounding Shani-ism of all: the man obsessed with standing alone—the barrier-breaking first Black athlete to win an individual Winter Games gold medal—needed to be appreciated, for once. The remarkable and turbulent athletic career of Shani Davis had to die like this.”
In my opinion, why would an athlete of any color or gender be ostracized, criticized or even socially circumcised just because he wanted to be the flag bearer for his country? And why would such a request kill his or her career? Why does it always have to be: “the barrier-breaking first Black athlete to win an individual Winter Games gold medal,” or anything else? Why can’t they just compete?
There was less hoopla about Olympic Gold medal-winning snowboarder Shawn White dragging the flag than it was for Shani Davis’ desire to carry the flag with dignity and honor.
The decision as to the person that was honored to carry the U.S. flag was decided by a freakin’ “flip of a coin.” That, boys and girls, was jive as hell, but such is the process.
Now, onto doping. On July 24, 2016, The Guardian posted this on their website: “The International Olympic Committee faces an unprecedented backlash from anti-doping groups and athletes after it decided not to impose a blanket ban on the Russian team competing in next month’s Rio Games.”
However, none of the banned athletes from the Rio games to my knowledge faced any jail time. Let’s rewind back to the Marion Jones PED scandal. On January 11, 2008, CNN.com posted this: “Olympic track star Marion Jones was sentenced in a federal court Friday to six months in prison, two years of probation and community service for lying to federal prosecutors investigating the use of performance-enhancing substances. Jones had pleaded guilty in October to charges of lying to a federal agent in 2003 about her use of steroids, and was sentenced on two counts—getting six months in prison on the first count and two months on the second, to be served concurrently.”
Before the sentencing, Jones broke down as she asked Karas not to send her to prison. The article continues, quoting Jones: “I plead with you to alleviate the situation by not separating me from my boys, even for a short period of time,” she said. But in the article, Karas noted that “athletes in society…serve as role models to children around the world. When there is a widespread level of cheating, it sends all the wrong messages. People live with their choices.”
An Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) in the sport of “curling” has preliminarily tested positive for a PED in these 2018 winter games. C’mon! Until recently, watching the sport of curling was relative to watching paint dry, twice. If the Russians will cheat in curling, they are cheating in every other sport as well and when they are caught, they are not taken from their children and jailed because cheating is not only practiced in the Russian “Bloc” it is encouraged.
Why? Because it is only a fair fight if the Russians win, even when it comes to the elections of other countries.
Just had to throw that in.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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