The Rio Olympics will begin in just over a week. I am sure you read that the Australian team refused to take their place in the Olympic Village a couple of days ago because when they saw their quarters they noticed some wetness on the walls and it turned out to be a “sewage leak”. The mayor of Rio tossed off their protest by saying he would get them a kangaroo as a pet for their stay in the Olympic Village. I do not know about you, but I think the mayor of Rio has fundamentally missed the point here.
If that were some sort of isolated event, you could ignore it and assume it will all be fixed and in working order by the end of next week. However, reports in the Washington Post point to a bigger problem. As of this morning, only 12 of the 31 buildings – they are 17-story structures – in the Olympic Village have passed safety inspections. Think about that for a moment. You would think that the Australians would have been directed to quarters that had passed safety inspections and look what they found.
The Post also cites an official of the Australian Olympic Committee saying that when they performed a stress test of their own by turning on all the faucets and flushing toilets simultaneously, here is what they experienced:
“Water came down walls, there was a strong smell of gas in some apartments and there was shorting in the electrical wiring.”
I guess the only thing to say in that situation is:
Enjoy your stay.
The Australian team is not alone in experiencing problems in the Olympic Village. The team from Belarus refused to move its athletes into the quarters assigned to them due to a “lack of hot water and a failing sewage system”.
Enjoy your stay.
In other Olympics news, the IOC did not take a stand on doping. When the anti-doping agencies recommended that the Russian team be barred from the Games because there was evidence that the doping was “state-suggested” if not “state-sponsored”. The IOC could have taken a stand here and actually seized the moral high ground on this issue – a perch they rarely if ever enjoy. However, taking that position would put them squarely in opposition to the Russian IOC and the Russian state system that clearly greased more than a couple of palms to secure the put on the Sochi Winter Games. Not surprisingly, the IOC chose not to take the high road here and deferred judgment to the international federations that oversee the various sports to determine the eligibility of each Russian athlete.
Compounding this travesty of justice, the one individual who is personally banned from the Olympics is the Russian 800-meter runner who blew the whistle on the whole “state-encouraged” doping system that caused all of this. She is banned; she cannot compete under a non-national flag as can athletes from countries that are war-torn and cannot send athletes to the Games. Her name is Yula Stepanova; she was not likely to medal in these Games; now she will not be able even to show up and try.
I rarely have anything good to say about the IOC. It is tempting to blame them for the failure of Brazil to live up to the promises it made to the IOC to secure these Games. However, I will give them a pass on that; the blame there belongs to the Brazilians. However, given the way this “state-encouraged” doping situation has unfolded and has concluded, it is absolutely fair to ask a simple question:
If Russian athletes who were part of the “state-encouraged” doping system are allowed to participate and the individual who brought it all to light is not allowed to participate, what is the anti-doping program of the IOC all about?
This is the time of year when NFL teams come together to prepare for the upcoming season and when news nuggets emerge from the individual teams:
Browns: Josh Gordon was conditionally re-instated by Roger Goodell subject to a 4-game suspension. That is good news for the Browns; they need all the help they can get. The bad news is that Gordon has a quadriceps injury that will need at least 2 weeks of rehab before he can get back to working with the team.
Cowboys: Randy Gregory was already suspended for the first 4 games of the 2016 season for multiple substance-abuse violations. The report now is that he has failed yet another test and may not play at all in 2016.
Falcons: The team released Devin Hester who holds the NFL record for returns for a touchdown. Hester missed much of last season with a foot injury and had off-season surgery; his release indicates to me that his recovery has not been complete. In reading the report, I learned that Hester is 33 years old; if you had asked me how old I thought he was, I probably would have guessed 28 or 29.
Niners: Anthony Davis – the offensive tackle that retired in June 2015 – now says he has sought reinstatement from the league by rescinding his retirement letter. That is good news for the Niners in that they need OL help and Davis was a quality player when he chose to retire to promote his “mental health”. Davis and Niners’ GM. Trent Baalke have had their issues in the past; it will be interesting to see what level of détente can be achieved there.
Finally, here is a comment from late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon:
“Happy Birthday to legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who turned 60. You can tell he’s getting older by his new name — Splenda Ray Leonard.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………