The Consequence Of No Consequence And The Comeback

2019-03-08 Reading Time: 4 minutes


How to make a bomb. The last 10 minutes or so of the ARD film “Doping Top Secret: Confession – Inside the mind of a doper” take us closer to the story and shadow of it all. We learn a little in this film; we learn much about the pathway and choices of one athlete and learn nothing about the people in the shadows, whose names are, one hopes, all in the possession of police authorities by now.

The documentary title tells a tale oft repeated: ‘we get ‘inside the mind of a doper’. Where we need to be is inside the mind and den of the dopers who dope the doped and dupe the rest.

So, 5000 euros for the transfusions and a cut of any winnings, the price of cheating. Easily affordable in pro sport, of course. The cost somewhat higher for cheat and cheated.

We’re reminded in the film, if we care to note it, that the Olympic sports environment is one in which an athlete may leave the Olympic arena and fly home thousands of kilometres in between races for a blood boost, same environment in which it is possible for a teenage swimmer to enter a toilet near the call room 5 mins before both her highly unusual gold-medal races with a male member of team staff, without anyone asking ‘is this ok?’

There were many more questions to ask Johannes Dürr but, as stated, we can only hope that he has provided ALL the names of the Dürr doping ‘family’ to police for ongoing investigations among the latest arrests.

As for the tears, keep them for generations of clean athletes, their families and coaches, folk who toiled and strived only to be robbed of true status and then never to have the theft acknowledged and dealt with by the guardians of sport.

Decades old, this tale.

‘Family’. You’ll have heard that word before in sport, Swimming, too. Caveat Emptor.

The last scene in the film is telling: Dürr contemplates the Sochi Wall of Champions. The look on his face, as he makes his comeback, is not one of deep sorrow, nor shame: it is that of a man who admires the whole Olympic quest and is praying yet at the altar of a wall carrying the names of a significant number of cheats: we all know what happened in Sochi… and you can guarantee that on one level or another, or many, Socchi was not unique to this world…. fly back in time to Montreal 1976 and we know that a sophisticated and dark Stasi operation was in play throughout the Games. Things like that have been with Olympic sport for a very long time.

The guardians belong yet to the club of wilfully blind, folk building and spending much energy on protecting fine pay days and lifestyles for themselves without taking due responsibility for the welfare of athletes and the environment in which they work; similar applies to the broadcasters and partners who pay for the show to go on as is without bringing the kind of pressure to bear that would change the Games for good: if you don’t change this and get to grips with it, we won’t be here, nor will our dollars.

To any who come with the usual mantra of excuses on that one: you’re part of the wilful blindness and excuses that allow Dürr to happen decades after the DDR had doctors shoving needles full of steroids into the backsides of girls as young as 12-13.

No consequence. Well, guess what….

If Dürr’s story ends at ‘remove medals, shame the athlete, allow a comeback, show goes on, enjoy the show, etc’, as usual, nothing will have been learned, nothing will change. So much depends on the police action and the will of nations to remove the Olympic realm from its bubble into the realm of national and international law. The death of autonomy for Olympic sport, including the removal of legal protections from the geography of headquarters, will, ultimately, be the only way to breathe trust and new life back into Olympic sport.

Meanwhile, here is a glimpse of the realm in which anti-doping authorities and signatories to the WADA Code have failed clean athletes, have shown no determined, pro-active intent to keep their sports clean by applying rules evenly and fairly, the unknown and the star treated to the same level of consequence for the same offence. That realm is now one in which legal authorities trained to and prepared for stepping in where there is wrongdoing are taking on the folk in the shadows and the athletes who fall for the big lie.

It is 21 years since Australian police helped to confirm the worse suspicions about the Chinese Swimming team as they found 13 vials of hGh in Yuan Yuan’s kit bag, the swimmer a teenage victim of rogues and abusers, FINA leaders defending the villains all the while, in word and all too often in deed, including admonishing anti-doping experts for helping to expose wrongdoing. The promoters remain the police on anti-doping. That has to end if clean athletes are going to be best represented and protected.

Will the latest story spread beyond those arrested so far? Swimmers? Apparently so…
“It will certainly affect other sports,” said Dieter Csefan from the Federal Criminal Police Office as he spoke of a global network and a “criminal organization”. The practice in Erfurt (of the doctor arrested) is a licensed sports medical examination centre for the State Sports Association of Thuringia. “The doctor looked after 50 to 60 professional athletes, including swimmers, cyclists, footballers, handball players and athletes. How many have doped, is unclear … numerous blood bags have been seized. By means of clear names, codes or DNS matching these will probably be assigned to certain athletes.”

Much more to come on that investigation. The story so far

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