Tag Archives: Summer Olympics.

Olympics joins the world’s squirrely nature

As if this world of ours hasn’t gone batty enough … we get this word from the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC has banned the Russian Olympic Committee for what it calls “systematic doping” among Russian athletes. Is that clear?

Sort of. Get this: The IOC says Russian athletes can compete as “neutral” competitors; they won’t stand under the Russian flag, nor will they compete in the name of their country.

My question is this: What happens if a Russian wins an event? Tradition says they play the national anthem of the gold-medal winning country during the award ceremony. Will they play the Russian anthem?

The Russian Olympic Committee has threatened a boycott if this ruling stands. I think it will. Thus, the Russians will do what they did in 1984 when the Soviet Union boycotted that year’s Summer Olympics in Los Angeles; that boycott retaliated against the U.S.-led boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics in 1980 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

I do not object to the IOC ruling regarding the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea. The IOC has accused the Russians of state-sponsored doping that has been detected among dozens of Russian athletes.

Doping is cheating. The Olympics are supposed to symbolize the best in sports. The Games are meant to pit athlete against athlete, pitting men and women against each other fairly and on level playing fields. The Russian efforts to boost their athletes’ prowess through drugs slaps the Olympic spirit squarely in its face.

It must be a Russian-government ethic that has pervaded the once-pristine world of sports. Hey, does this episode remind anyone — other than me — of the Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election?

Olympic splendor always provides chills


At this very moment, I am watching the parade of nations at the start of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

I’ve written already about how I’m a sucker for pageantry.

The Olympics’ opening ceremony always fills me with pride.

Sure enough, I enjoyed watching the Americans march into the stadium. I always enjoy the Greek Olympic team lead the parade per the custom, given that the Olympics originated in Greece in 776 B.C.; it also fills me with pride in my own Greek heritage to see them lead the thousands of other athletes onto the stadium floor.

The Rio games have been beset with questions, trouble and the potential for disaster. The world’s sincere hope is that the Brazilians conduct an Olympics that will make them proud.

Given that this is the first Olympics ever held in┬áSouth America, I’m betting the Brazilians are up to the task.

I’m also an unfettered idealist. I always hope — and occasionally expect — the best. The Rio Olympic planners have everything in the world at stake here. The images I’ve seen of the host city are spectacular in the extreme. Then again, all host cities make sure they show off their best when the world comes calling.

Worries about Zika, terrorism, contaminated water and filthy streets all are legitimate concerns for the Brazilians.

I am aware that the Olympic spirit alone won’t protect the competitors from harm. A good bit prayer and good karma, though, well might do the trick.

I’ll be sending them all plenty of both for the next two weeks.