Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Russia's Olympic Athletes Shouldn't Go to Rio

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Russia's Olympic Athletes Shouldn't Go to Rio

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Russia's Olympic athletes shouldn't go to Rio

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published July 21:

The world will soon learn what's at the heart of the Olympic movement: dedication to fair play and clean competition, or craven toadying to big powers with huge budgets to spend on sport.

The test is whether the International Olympic Committee bans Russia's delegation of athletes from competing in the summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

A decision is expected within days, and the strongest possible penalty is well-warranted, given the staggering extent of Russian state-sponsored cheating. The last credible excuse for IOC inaction disappeared on Thursday when the international Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected an appeal challenging an earlier ban of 68 Russian track and field athletes from Rio.

That sanction was imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations last November, when it suspended Russia's track and field federation in the wake of earlier revelations of widespread doping.

Russia had argued that such action unfairly punished clean athletes as well as the guilty. But the court of arbitration verdict confirms that the IAAF acted well within its power under a mandate to protect the integrity of competition.

Pressed on whether to ban Russia from participating in all Olympic sports this August, a clearly reluctant IOC had said it would await the arbitration court's finding before making a decision. Now that ruling is in, clearing the way for strong action.

The IOC's executive board is to meet on Sunday to discuss the role of Russian athletes. With the Games just two weeks away, it can't dither much longer. And anything less than a complete ban on Russian state-sponsored athletes at the Rio games would make a mockery of Olympic dedication to fair play.

There's clear evidence that Russian government ministries, the country's security service, its sports officials, and its athletes engaged in a conspiracy to cover up doping on a vast scale. …

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