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Semion Elistratov, 2015 (Wikipedia)

Viewer stats crash for Winter Olympic Games without Russia

Viewer numbers will not even earn the opening of the Olympic Games franchise a bronze medal. It is down 9 percent from what the February 7, 2014 Opening Ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics from Sochi in Russia delivered in the early numbers.

Published: February 12, 2018, 7:37 am

    Last night’s coverage of the opener of the 2018 Winter Olympics received one of the worst ratings ever, a result of organisers deciding to keep Russia from participating.

    “I am no longer fond of Olympic games. There are too many sport disciplines, too much cheating, too much money and too many politics involved in the Olympics,” at least one Canadian viewer told FWM.

    The Norwegian team was rumored to have brought some 6 000 doses of asthma medicine for its athletes. Even if the rumour is false, it makes a valid point, because such drugs are exempted by the anti-doping agency if some doctor simply certifies that an athlete “needs” them.

    Such drugs mask performance enhancers, noted as merely a “side effect” in anti-doping tests. At least 15 US athletes in the Rio Olympics took the asthma “medicine”. Russian athletes though, who never used these tricks, were banned or restricted for alleged doping on rather murky grounds.

    With geopolitical tensions rising, VIP seating plans, 1 200 pre-recorded morphing drones, the Comcast-owned network NBC tried hard to make the event seem fresh without Russia, but failed.

    In the run-up to the Games, it was depressing to watch politics encroach on the Olympic Movement and take control of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the doping testing body, based on the allegations by Grigory Rodchenko, who is now “under American protection in California”.

    His testimony influenced key members of the IOC who engineered the banning of the entire Russian athletic teams in Rio and North Korea, even though hundreds of those athletes had competed for years and provided clean drug tests on all occasions.

    Rodchenkov is the former director of Russia’s national antidoping laboratory, the Anti-Doping Center, which was suspended by the WADA in November 2015 for allegedly facilitating Russia’s elaborate state-sponsored doping program.

    When a number of Russian athletes successfully appealed their bans to the CAS appeal body and were reinstated, Thomas Bach, the IOC president, vociferously “regretted” the CAS decision and threatened the continued existence of the CAS. In the next days, the CAS declined the appeals of a further 47 clean Russian athletes without any coherent reasons for their judgment.

    With anti-Russian Americans striving to disrupt Russian participation in major international sporting events, American-sponsored disruption of the Russian hosting of the football World Cup is expected to also surface.

    The doping scandal that keeps many Russian athletes from competing in top events, including the ongoing Winter Olympics, was because the US apparently can no longer beat Russians, the country’s foreign minister said.

    Sergey Lavrov said banning Russian athletes from the games was “part of this unfair competition, because the Americans apparently can no longer beat us in a fair fight. They believe that taking back and preserving uncontested leadership in global sports requires sidelining the competition.”

    In an interview with Rossia-1 news channel on Sunday, Lavrov said in other areas the US use similar tactics, “of unilateral, coercive, illegitimate, unlawful actions to obtain the advantage”.

    The “Russiagate” scandal, a false allegation that Russia somehow attacked American democracy during the 2016 presidential election is another example of a dirty American scheme, Lavrov said. There will never be any proof of such interference, because there was none, he added.

    “They have been investigating this for a year and not a single fact has surfaced to corroborate these speculations,” he said. “If there were any facts, they would have been leaked by now. I know this is how the US system works. Everything gets leaked with so many people involved in all those hearings and investigations.”

    The Russian minister said Moscow saw the current state of relations with the US as abnormal. He said Russia would not retaliate, in order to avoid fueling the planned hysteria and escalating tensions.

    Lavrov said he was actually baffled by anti-Russian panic in the US. “I could not believe my eyes and ears, seeing and hearing many officials in Washington, in the administration and Congress, whom I knew personally — quite serious and smart, rational people. I was amazed to see them being stripped of every bit of sense by this mass psychosis,” he said.

    Meanwhile Russian short-track speedskater Semion Elistratov is being “investigated” because he dedicated his bronze medal to Russian compatriots banned from the Games.

    Elistratov clinched a bronze medal in the 1500m event at Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night. He criticized the decision to expel the Russian team and many of its athletes from Pyeongchang.

    The few Russian athletes participating are not allowed to wear their country’s colours or flag.

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    • Gary Sellars

      I refuse to watch. To hell with the corrupt IOC. Athletes who have not had any positive test results and have no prior drug offenses (and who haven’t taken unreasonable advantage of medical exemptions) should not be banned. Even worse, the IOC attempted to strip medal winners at Sochii of their medals and even ban them for LIFE… even though they were no positive tests.

      Its not acceptable to base all these penalties on the allegations of a known serial doper (Rochenko) who ran a for-profit doping scheme and who supplied drugs to his sister for sale to athletes. He was let off because of being diagnosed with a schizophrenia-related condition, and immediately ran to the US where he disappeared into a witness protection and now sings an absurd song (does anyone really believe his story of FSB hiding behind holes in a wall?).

      The IOC has gone too far, and I congratulate the CAS for asserting due legal process and overturning the disgraceful IOC unilateral penalties We need the IOC to be comprehensively reformed so that such a travesty won’t happen again. WADA must also be called to task, as their blatant political crusade is the root cause of this farce.

    • Gary Sellars

      There is NO such evidence for this alleged Russian “state sponsored doping program”…. other than what Grigory Rodchenko did as part of his personal doping scam conducted for self-enrichment.

      The Schmid report EXPLICITLY states that there is no evidence for a state-sponsored doping program.

      Section 3.1, (1): “The IOC DC has not found any documented, independent and impartial evidence confirming the support or the knowledge of this (doping) system by the highest State authority”

      Section 3.1, (6): “On the other hand, this knowledge allowed Dr Grigory Rodchenkov to design better doping products and protocols, ensuring that they would be less detectable and to establish a methodology to cover-up doping tests.”

      Section 3.1, (7): “On many occasions, reference was made on the involvement at the Minister of Sport’s level, but no indication, independent or impartial evidence appeared to corroborate any involvement or knowledge at a higher level of the State.”

      Rodchenko was the doper, got caught, got sacked, ran to the US and started telling lies to US authorities in exchange for protection against prosecution. The Russian state was not involved, ie no “state sponsored” system. People may not like these findings, but the truth is the truth, even when its inconvenient for our Establishments geopolitical agendas.

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