Cheaters at the Olympics

At the Rio Olympics last week a U.S. swimmer, Lilly King, criticized her Russian counterpart, Yulia Efimova...

At the Rio Olympics last week a U.S. swimmer, Lilly King, criticized her Russian counterpart, Yulia Efimova, who’s been linked to a state-sponsored doping scandal, mostly for the fact Efimova was even there to compete, and King was right to be offended.

There’s proof the Russian government accommodated, assisted or even organized a wide-ranging cheating/doping program at the Sochi Olympics two years ago, and some bans on certain athletes or programs were in place before the Brazil Olympics. But a few questionable athletes are still there.

Cheating is not unusual in elite or pro sports, looking as far back as the Black Sox scandal in Major League Baseball in the WWI era, or Pete Rose’s gambling issues up to the 1980’s. The stigma connected to cheating seems to have changed, though. It seems in the modern pro sports world cheaters are treated with an indifferent shoulder shrug if not outright admired.

Pete Carroll, now head coach of the NFL Seattle Seahawks, was chased out of college football in the States several years ago after his USC outfit was buried under a mountain of cheating charges. The charges included crooked “jobs” for student athletes (they’re not supposed to be paid anything to play college ball). Rather than face the music, Carroll jumped ship to the NFL for a million dollar contract. Nobody to this day really said anything about it.

NFL fans will also be familiar with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, caught cheating two years ago (he knew about an illegal scheme to deflate footballs which made them easier to hold and throw). Brady recently exhausted all appeals after never admitting to wrongdoing. After it became clear his appeals were done Brady was quoted as saying something like, “I’m putting it behind me, time to move on.” He’s never put it behind him, he denied responsibility every step of the way. The appeals court threw your complaint in the garbage, and Tom, everyone just wants to make this very clear, you’re going to serve your suspension for cheating whether you accept it or not.

It’s time to send a message about cheating. As nasty as it is to say, the entire Russian federation Olympic team should have been barred from Rio, whether they knew about doping or not.

It doesn’t appear, though, that pro sports learned their lesson about cheating. North American sports leagues went through intense cheating controversies over the past 15 or so years, notably when Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, in attempts to break the MLB home run record, juiced up with a variety of steroids and other cheating technology that may have allowed a single player to bask in limelight, but threw the reputation of pro baseball in the gutter. Finally the pro leagues imposed punishments but only after they were forced to, in my opinion.

However, international sports leagues, including Olympic committees and governments run by former KGB agents, either don’t realize the price of cheating, or, more likely, don’t care.

The fact so many Russian Federation athletes are competing in Rio proves that.

Stu Salkeld is the editor of The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.

 

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin Leaders of Tomorrow youth awards kick-off

Nominations now open for Wetaskiwin youth leaders awards

Writer says government’s Bighorn campaign full of dishonesty

Bighorn plan is to destroy land, not protect it

County council hears cannabis info meeting not well attended

Councilors give regular updates on their work at meeting Nov. 6

Lakedell 4-H Beef kids enjoy calf tour January 5

Lakedell 4-H Beef January report

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

PHOTO: Eyes turn to heavens to witness super blood wolf moon

These two photos show the lunar eclipse about 30 minutes apart from each other.

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

WATCH: Team Alberta in Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Most Read