how could you have not seen this coming?
May 16, 2016 6:39 AM   Subscribe

 
Seems like the only way an athlete could try to deceive the Russian Ministry of Sport would be to hide the pills under their tongue and spit them out later.
posted by Etrigan at 6:42 AM on May 16, 2016 [35 favorites]


Me, I'm still keen to find out the full story behind Russia's failure to win Eurovision despite throwing the kitchen sink at it this year, and what their response to that failure might be.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:47 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've seen various pieces saying that they should just cancel the Brazil Olympics anyway, given that the president was just impeached by hard-rightists and the threat of Zika is unaddressed. Don't know how likely that is to happen, I would guess "not very."
posted by emjaybee at 6:48 AM on May 16, 2016 [11 favorites]


None of this is surprising at all to me. I just assume that most professional athletes are taking some kind of performance enhancing drug. Some might not be legal and the rest have likely just not been classified as illegal.

For the most part, I do still enjoy the games and sports that I watch. There is a high level of skill, technique and physical dedication involved with these types of sports. But, yeah. It's been tainted in that way for a long while. The corruption on the political and bureaucratic level is what really sucks about these kinds of stories. All the money that's kind of floating around behind the scenes.
posted by Fizz at 6:54 AM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm still keen to find out the full story behind Russia's failure to win Eurovision

The kind of drugs you need to make Eurovision tolerable aren't the performance-enhancing kind.
posted by mhoye at 6:56 AM on May 16, 2016 [43 favorites]


I've seen various pieces saying that they should just cancel the Brazil Olympics anyway...

There was a discussion about this on the radio spectrum this morning. While there was a case for cancel, or possibly postponement for a year (which would give Brazil a chance to further fix the stuff that's been hurriedly put up), the feeling was that this is extremely unlikely to happen, because large amounts of sponsorship money is calling the shots. One of the panelists started talking about the, quote, "acceptable casualty rate" during the games, which was a weird concept.
posted by Wordshore at 6:58 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The corruption on the political and bureaucratic level is what really sucks about these kinds of stories. All the money that's kind of floating around behind the scenes.

The Olympics straddle the line between nationalist prestige and transnational corporate marketing, so it's hard to imagine how it could be anything but the corruption-pageant it is.
posted by mhoye at 7:01 AM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


I've seen various pieces saying that they should just cancel the Brazil Olympics anyway, given that the president was just impeached by hard-rightists and the threat of Zika is unaddressed.

And don't forget about the shit water that participants have to compete in.
posted by NoMich at 7:11 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The corruption on the political and bureaucratic level is what really sucks about these kinds of stories. All the money that's kind of floating around behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes? Money is the scene. From broadcast contracts to developing sufficient infrastructure and local support (PDF), it's all about money in my eyes.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:15 AM on May 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


How could you have not seen this coming??

Oh, right, that's the post title. Yes.

Interesting to watch how all the non-dictator countries are starting to refuse to bid on future Games. I wonder how that'll play out in the end.
posted by Melismata at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


[IOC] We suspect some of your athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs.
[Russian official] Nonsense.
[IOC] That one over there has an extra arm and a tail.
[Russian official] Is not a tail.
[IOC] It's wagging.
[Russian official] Athlete is happy to see you. Are you not happy to see athlete?
posted by delfin at 7:18 AM on May 16, 2016 [130 favorites]


My predictions for the Olympics this year:
a) The athletes will take so many performance-enhancing drugs that, once they are exposed to the spotlights, they will transform into Super Mutants and gun down the entire crowd and devour their corpses on international television, then escape and take over the world. Everyone dies.
b) The IOC will take so much money out of the economy in the form of bribes that the entire world's financial system collapses. Everyone dies.
c) Unrest in Brazil leads to an unfortunate [hostage/terrorist/stadium collapse/fill in the blank] incident which triggers world war 3. Everyone dies.
d) The zika virus spreads around the globe insuring that the next generation born is such a genetic mess that society collapses. Everyone dies.
e) Any/ all of the above.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:23 AM on May 16, 2016 [25 favorites]


[IOC] We suspect some of your athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs.
[Russian official] Nonsense.
[IOC] That one over there has an extra arm and a tail.
[Russian official] Is not a tail.
[IOC] It's wagging.
[Russian official] Athlete is happy to see you. Are you not happy to see athlete?


[IOC] Well, as long as you give me some money and a dedicated highway lane for my limo that disrupts the lives of thousands and screws the poor people in the neighborhood, we're good.
posted by Melismata at 7:23 AM on May 16, 2016 [37 favorites]


Interesting to watch how all the non-dictator countries are starting to refuse to bid on future Games. I wonder how that'll play out in the end.

I guess Russia and China can just pass the torch back and forth for a while. Although, as an upside to a Trump win, maybe that mean's we'll qualify for the Corruptlympics.
posted by dis_integration at 7:24 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess Russia and China can just pass the torch back and forth for a while. Although, as an upside to a Trump win, maybe that mean's we'll qualify for the Corruptlympics.
posted by dis_integration at 10:24 AM on May 16 [2 favorites +] [!]


Make The Olympics Fascist Again!

No wait.
posted by Fizz at 7:41 AM on May 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


I try to imagine what might end the Olympics as we know them, and can't do it. It's such a prestige event that so many believe is true enough to its stated ideals that it's a world treasure and they can't imagine not revering it. In Vancouver, we know people who lined up all day with their kids just to view the medals on display.

To me, it's so obviously a noisy scrum of pigs at a money trough that I can't imagine ever supporting it, but I can't imagine what might trigger serious reform. Sepp Blatter got arrested by the one country with sufficiently low interest in soccer to actually bother, and everyone just nodded and said "yup, totally massively corrupt, but soccer and FIFA go on." There are no countries disinterested enough in the Olympics to lock up the IOC or attempt any serious reform.
posted by fatbird at 7:45 AM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Hey c'mon guys, this could be the shot in the arm the Brazilian economy needs. Greece hosted the olympics and just look at their economy now!
posted by adept256 at 7:47 AM on May 16, 2016 [18 favorites]


The kind of drugs you need to make Eurovision tolerable aren't the performance-enhancing kind.

Nor, from the evidence, the taste-enchancing kind.
posted by y2karl at 7:51 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]



I guess Russia and China can just pass the torch back and forth for a while. Although, as an upside to a Trump win, maybe that mean's we'll qualify for the Corruptlympics.


No problem! In Tramp's Olympics, drugs are handed out by the bucket, and the medals go to the highest bidders. But only of the right color, sex, or nationality...
posted by BlueHorse at 7:56 AM on May 16, 2016


e) Any/ all of the above.

I like those odds!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:57 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


To prevent corruption in the future, only countries with no official governmental ministry for sport can participate in the Olympics.

OOOH LOOK THE US WON ALL THE MEDALS!

No, but seriously, I think they have to start peeling back all the non-Olympic cruft, like put a hard limit on the number of coaches and non-sports people who can attend, and allow cities to build only 3 or 4 venues in their bid (because, sure, you might not have a kayaking run handy in your otherwise Olympic-eligible city). And if they're going to have 10,000 athletes attend, it can't keep being a single unified Olympic village (which leads to enormously wasteful building of housing that's always supposed to be repurposed to low-income housing but typically fails). Lots of cities have seasonal housing (colleges, resorts) that can house 1500 people here, 3500 people there, but 10,000 in one place is way too many.

And no more fucking special roads, and IOC officials, you'll get normal shitty stadium press box catering of hot dogs and popcorn and nachos and you'll LIKE it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:59 AM on May 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I guess hindsight is 20/20, but it seems strange that the IOC didn't have better security measures in place, such as monitoring equipment/video cameras that they install and manage, security guards who they hire, and not trust all this to the host country.

i guess it saves money and resources just in case a "what if" scenario actually occurs.

But the testing process, where athletes were able to use their cameras to take pictures of the sample vials and codes... I mean I guess one could have assigned the "anonymous codes" after the sample was submitted, but again, hindsight and all...
posted by bitteroldman at 8:08 AM on May 16, 2016


I guess Russia and China can just pass the torch back and forth for a while. Although, as an upside to a Trump win, maybe that mean's we'll qualify for the Corruptlympics.

The good* news is: in the Age of Strongmen, the pool of eligible countries looks set to increase. Orbán's muscularly autocratic Hungary would be in with a shot, followed a few years down the track by PiS Poland and possibly far-right Austria, and then LePen's France, and neofascist Finland and Sweden. Outside the EU, UKIP/Tory Britain could put in another bid. In Asia, the Philippines look in with a robust chance, and if Tony Abbott gets the Prime Ministership of Australia back, anything's possible.

*not good
posted by acb at 8:12 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I propose a parallel competition: the Drug Olympics. Nine foot tall basketball players, genetically engineered mermaids in the swimming, weightlifters with power-assist exoskeletons. People that don't want to cheat can have the regular Olympics, but I know what I'd watch.
posted by adept256 at 8:17 AM on May 16, 2016 [23 favorites]


Do gold medals translate to big money for most athletes? If not, the desire to win one by cheating baffles me. Doesn't that carry secret shame?
posted by davebush at 8:18 AM on May 16, 2016


I think we'd be better off with just establishing a permanent Olympic Venue and ending the whole corruption prone and horribly economically damaging system of passing it around from city to city.

But the thing that has always confused me, and I'm not a sports person so maybe there's something obvious to sports people that I'm just missing, is why performance enhancing drugs are forbidden in the first place?

I mean, I get why it's bad if one person takes them and others don't, that's cheating and producing an uneven playing field.

But why not just let everyone take them?

The top athletes are just people who have bodies which produce more of the natural performance enhancing drugs than most people do, so there's already an aristocracy of sorts made up of what might be termed natural dopers. What's wrong with ending the aristocracy and democratizing sport by allowing people to artificially adjust their hormones and whatever to match what the natural sport aristocrats have?

Is it just a sort of reverence for the born aristocrats of the sports world? A nostalgia for the way things once were? Or is there some huge sports thing that as an outsider I'm overlooking?
posted by sotonohito at 8:20 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why Boston said no to the Olympics and your city should, too. One advantage of having so may universities in the Boston area is that we can do some basic math.
posted by Melismata at 8:21 AM on May 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I imagine it'd translate into getting to jump the queue to buy a Trabant and/or your family being assigned a more spacious apartment; if you have any politically tainted relatives, you may be able to get them removed from blacklists as well.
posted by acb at 8:21 AM on May 16, 2016


But why not just let everyone take them?

I was always sympathetic to this idea. The counterpoint that has really resonated for me lately is that there are real harms that come from the use of many performance-enhancing drugs, and making them a de facto requirement for participation in sport is going to hurt a lot of (young, usually not fully in charge of their own lives) people.
posted by brennen at 8:26 AM on May 16, 2016 [31 favorites]


And if they're going to have 10,000 athletes attend, it can't keep being a single unified Olympic village (which leads to enormously wasteful building of housing that's always supposed to be repurposed to low-income housing but typically fails). Lots of cities have seasonal housing (colleges, resorts) that can house 1500 people here, 3500 people there, but 10,000 in one place is way too many.

I totally get where you're coming from, but security at the Olympics is a no-shit HUGE DEAL. The spectre of Munich still looms large. Protecting one, albeit large and yes utterly failing at its stated purpose post-Games (as with the vast majority of Olympic infrastructure), location where the athletes live is much easier than protecting multiple locations. I suppose if you integrated housing with venues you might get somewhere.

London did respond to some of the venue concerns pretty well--beach volleyball, e.g., was an entirely temporary structure that was gone within days of the Games ending. I saw and tangentially worked on some documents for a failed Toronto bid in a previous life; their entire plan was predicated on using or upgrading/replacing extant structures (e.g. swimming was tentatively proposed to either tear down the UofT swimming/athletics complex and build a new one in partnership with the university, and/or move diving to the National Aquatics Centre in Ottawa). Unfortunately, the parasitic graft that comes with the Games is unlikely to get behind that sort of thing.

I guess for me it boils down to: the idea of the Games is a fantastic one. The actual execution, not so much, and the IOC leechery is too entrenched, as is the bags of money waiting to be claimed by construction interests in host countries, to make it stop. How we get back to a better place w/r/t the Games is beyond me. I wish there were some answer that people could get behind.

Is it just a sort of reverence for the born aristocrats of the sports world? A nostalgia for the way things once were? Or is there some huge sports thing that as an outsider I'm overlooking?

Well, respecting natural talent is a thing. And many performance-enhancing drugs carry pretty bad health risks. And you'd be setting up a different aristocracy: those who can afford the drugs and those who can't. As it stands, theoretically anyone can get to the Olympics with enough hard work. Yes, that's true more in the breach than the observance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:26 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess hindsight is 20/20, but it seems strange that the IOC didn't have better security measures in place, such as monitoring equipment/video cameras that they install and manage, security guards who they hire, and not trust all this to the host country.

The security measures are the bribes they get for looking the other way.
posted by dilaudid at 8:28 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Letting athletes (under pressure to perform) take performance-enhancing drugs would be like getting rid of work-safety regulations. Hey, nobody's making you operate the cutting machine in the asbestos factory without safety equipment, and if you don't like the risk, you're always free to quit your job and find some other way to feed your children...
posted by acb at 8:41 AM on May 16, 2016 [24 favorites]


The counterpoint that has really resonated for me lately is that there are real harms that come from the use of many performance-enhancing drugs, and making them a de facto requirement for participation in sport is going to hurt a lot of (young, usually not fully in charge of their own lives) people.

Exactly. If a performance-enhancing drug didn't cause harm or the risk of harm, it would be a vitamin.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 8:43 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Exactly. If a performance-enhancing drug didn't cause harm or the risk of harm, it would be a vitamin.

Hypervitaminosis
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:48 AM on May 16, 2016


I think there's also this (US) attitude, discussed a bit in Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary, that WE DON'T LIKE CHEATERS. Damnit, we got where we were due to good ol' American gumption, and you should too. Or something like that.
posted by Melismata at 8:53 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Letting athletes (under pressure to perform) take performance-enhancing drugs would be like getting rid of work-safety regulations. Hey, nobody's making you operate the cutting machine in the asbestos factory without safety equipment, and if you don't like the risk, you're always free to quit your job and find some other way to feed your children...

But they are already risking significant long-term damage to their bodies just by training so intensively. I think it's weird to draw the line at nutritional supplements and not at, say growth plate injuries.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:03 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think there's also this (US) attitude, discussed a bit in Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary, that WE DON'T LIKE CHEATERS.

But we're happy to look the other way if we're winning.

*cough* Armstrong *cough* McGuire *cough*
posted by leotrotsky at 9:05 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you poke around in this PDF you can see some of the security requirements for the village laid out. It's from 2005, this was just a quick Google, there's probably more recent docs available. A bigger list of technical requirements manuals here.

Honestly, I think I've linked to the manuals before, they're fascinating in how they're put together and in how, reading between the lines, you can see how they're very carefully written to require new construction for everything.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:13 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


McGuire is nowhere near the Hall of Fame these days, and is generally considered a punchline. Maybe Armstrong will get there soon enough.
posted by Melismata at 9:16 AM on May 16, 2016


Somebody remake Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but the Big Grift at the end is running the IOC or FIFA.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Some thoughts in no particular order on this:

There are many countries other than Russia in hot water for not doing proper testing at the moment, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Turkey, Jamaica, and Spain. In some cases WADA has blacklisted certain labs, saying "we don't trust you any more".

The degree of state involvement in Russia stands out, however. They put agents from the secret police in the testing lab in Sochi to ensure the correct outcome. This isn't that strange when you think about how every other aspect of life in Russia is penetrated by the Kremlin and FSB. In a way it would be strange if the FSB weren't involved in doping.

Lots and lots of medals from the London Olympics have either been stripped already, or are likely to be stripped as the the people who won them have tested positive since, and more comes out every day. One day London 2012 will be just as tainted as the 19998 Tour de France.

Apart from the health risks, if you allow doping you change the winners, as some people get a much bigger benefit from certain drugs than others. For example in cycling, at the end of the 80's it looked like there'd be a wave of dominance by small Colombian climbers who grew up at altitude and had the natural boost that that gave them. Then EPO happened and suddenly the likes of Indurain and most ridiculously Riis were suddenly able to defy gravity and haul their massive bodies up mountains.

Doping opens up way more avenues for crime and corruption into sport as you have people soliciting bribes to make positives go away,, dodgy doctors, crooked federations displaying favouritism, criminal gangs supplying products, etc.
posted by kersplunk at 9:24 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you tell me again how Armstrong cheated to get to the moon, I will fight you.

But seriously, what a disappointment. He was inspirational, a real-life triumph over adversity story. A sports hero to inspire us all. Then it turns out he's not just a cheat and a liar, but the ring-leader corrupting others.

I'm disillusioned with the whole rotten edifice of professional sport. I'd caution parents to encourage their children to have sporting role models. Having to explain why you're taking down that poster in their bedroom because they found a dead hooker in the trunk of their car is going to be hard.

Get them the Einstein poster where he's poking his tongue out like a goof.
posted by adept256 at 9:27 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


But the 2018 World Cup is going to be just fine.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:35 AM on May 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Letting athletes (under pressure to perform) take performance-enhancing drugs would be like getting rid of work-safety regulations.
No, it would be much worse. Athletics is a dual labor market, where for every successful person on the inside there are far more people who didn't make the cut. Screw up safety for a factory worker, and you hurt one factory worker. Screw up safety for a training soccer player, and you also hurt a hundred kids who aspired to take that player's place some day.
posted by roystgnr at 9:42 AM on May 16, 2016 [16 favorites]


adept256: "Get them the Einstein poster where he's poking his tongue out like a goof."

All Your Faves Are Problematic
posted by Rock Steady at 9:43 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


But the 2018 World Cup is going to be just fine.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:35 PM on May 16 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


“BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!” ~ vuvuzela
posted by Fizz at 9:46 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]



adept256: "Get them the Einstein poster where he's poking his tongue out like a goof."

All Your Faves Are Problematic
posted by Rock Steady at 12:43 PM on May 16 [+] [!]


That's why I only have inspirational pictures of elements from the periodic table on my wall.

Yttrium has yet to disappoint me.
posted by Fizz at 9:58 AM on May 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


You've got a special chemistry between you?

Wouldn't trust yttrium. My geologist friends gossip that it's always found in a bed with other lanthanides. "That ore..." they say, dismissively.
posted by Devonian at 10:08 AM on May 16, 2016 [32 favorites]


if Tony Abbott gets the Prime Ministership of Australia back, anything's possible.

Dogs and cats, living together. The dead rising from the grave.
posted by No-sword at 10:18 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


But why not just let everyone take them?

I'd be more sympathetic to this if countries had full medical systems that could support all levels of athletes (and everyone else) both during and after PED consumption. However, the United States doesn't have this even for the very highest levels of athletes, who are instead treated by company doctors who have massive conflicts with their patients interests.

When pro athletes go broke and health insurance-less after earning millions what kind of lifetime medical coverage can putative amateurs expect?

When the top people in the field are on PEDs what does a young person have to do to try and break into the field?

I've taken extended courses of steroids for medical reasons and let me tell you it is no picnic. I still think it fundamentally altered my personality by giving me a temper I never had before. I never experienced rage until I took steroids and almost twenty years later I know that potential is still sitting there in the back of head waiting....
posted by srboisvert at 10:20 AM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


if Tony Abbott gets the Prime Ministership of Australia back, anything's possible.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA STOP STOP STOP AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

The Sydney Olympics were ok and didn't ruin everything. We have the Commonwealth games at the Gold Coast coming up soon so let's see how that goes. I live In Brisbane and I'm looking into volunteering just to be part of the fun. But it's Australia, we don't need to bulldoze the slums. Honestly, you can see the poverty line in Rio from space.
posted by adept256 at 10:25 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is no fixing the USSR (or Chinese) governments but it is long past time for a clean sweep of the IOC. The only way to get rid of a culture of corruption is to get rid of the people who are inculcated in it.
posted by bearwife at 10:26 AM on May 16, 2016


The other way to fix it would be for the athletes to refuse to compete under the current regime. I can understand how tremendously difficult this would be, bur they are the one group who do have that power.

Stripped of everything else, the Olympics needs a field and competitors - and would still be the Olympics.
posted by Devonian at 10:34 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or people could stop watching it on TV, but that seems even less likely.
posted by dilaudid at 10:36 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Global warming is gonna kill the winter games sure enough, so all we have to do is wait it out, let enough first world cities pass on the fiasco that the summer games will die out as well. The nostalgia is strong in the boomer/gen-x generations, but millenials don't give an F. I'd be shocked if there's actually a 2040 games.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:53 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Everyone dies.

Oh, the embarrassment.
posted by The Tensor at 10:56 AM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do you suppose there's a single person on the planet who actually believes that the Russian Sports Minister [1] was tricked by those evil athletes rather than the Russian Sports Ministry actively helping (or forcing) the athletes to take the drugs?

I'm disturbed, deeply disturbed, by the way journalists keep playing along with obvious, blatant, falsehoods as if they are somehow legitimate and serious positions. Donald Trump is a joke, not a serious contender for president. The Russian Sports Minister was not a victim, he was clearly actively involved in the cheating. When journalists pretend that falsehood is truth they undermine the very concept of truth.

The fact that the Russian Sports Minister wasn't driven out of the press conference in shame by the gales of laughter his speech should have provoked is a planetary disgrace.

[1] And seriously, WTF, why would anyone ever make sports part of a flipping government?
posted by sotonohito at 10:57 AM on May 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


“I die. I breathe in and breathe in and cannot exhale. I explode all over my friends. They forget my name and pretend it is dung. They wash off in the square and the well becomes polluted. All die. O the embarrassment.”

One of my favorite alien cultures.
posted by sotonohito at 11:00 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or people could stop watching it on TV, but that seems even less likely.

Just get a decent boycott of the opening/closing ceremonies and it could be enough to get the networks/sponsors to drop the hammer on the IOC. FIFA was in full support of Sepp Blatter until Coke and Mastercard got involved.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:01 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


A first, simple solution to avoid the boondoggle that the Olympics is to the communities that bid on them and are then left with White Elephants; is to make Greece and Switzerland permanent places to hold these events every 4 years.

Once the bidding process is removed; one major problem with the Olympics; Financial Corruption; can be held down. Then with the money that is no longer having to be spent on the physical structures; the IOC can figure out the drug testing and policing aspect.

As it stands right now; both sides are corrupt. The IOC because of the financial corruption; and the regimes like Russia, China and Kenya which use the Olympics for political purposes actually participating in the chemical corruption. I am not saying that the chemical corruption does not occur in many sports in many other countries; but it does seem like Russia, China and Kenya are complicit on a massive, official, state sponsored scale. That is different. It reminds me of the East German doping program of the 70's.

With all the shenanigans exposed from the IOC scandals; the FIFA scandal; (I cannot believe that they are still going to let Qatar host 2022); the only way to get a hold of this is for the professional arms of the various sports (Nike, the Soccer Clubs etc.); to just pull out.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:08 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


permanent places to hold these events every 4 years

How about ditching the concept of a host city?

99.9999% of people are watching on television or online. We can have Alpine Skiing in Zermat, Hockey throughout France, Luge in Salt Lake City, gymnastics in Seoul. You run these events concurrently and with time zone differences you can probably manage to deliver live content 24 hours a day over the 2 weeks. The ceremonies become coordinated live via satellite events where each venue gets to sing and dance for a part of the show.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:43 AM on May 16, 2016 [16 favorites]


Interesting to watch how all the non-dictator countries are starting to refuse to bid on future Games.

Not sure if this is some political dig at the US/etc, but the 2024 bids are from US, France, Italy, and Hungary. Which are nominally democracies, although Hungary seems to be having some issues and the US might elect Trump....
posted by thefoxgod at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2016


But why not just let everyone take them?

Because there could not be a standard drug regimen, one thing I expect would happen would be that athletes from places without an advanced or adventurous pharmaceutical industry would be disadvantaged. You'd have lots of really dangerous substances put into athletes, in some cases with no known antidote for them.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:31 PM on May 16, 2016


There is no fixing the USSR

That is a solved problem.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:42 PM on May 16, 2016 [12 favorites]


"Which are nominally democracies, although Hungary seems to be having some issues and the US might elect Trump...."

So, you're only count as a democracy if you elect the correct candidate?
posted by 445supermag at 12:58 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Vitaly Mutko's got the same look that Abe Vigoda's character had in The Godfather: he knows he's going to die. He'll die sooner if Russia doesn't get into the olympics, but he'll die anyway when Putin eventually tires of him.
posted by scruss at 1:01 PM on May 16, 2016


So, you're only count as a democracy if you elect the correct candidate?

No, I'm assuming/slightly joking that we won't _remain_ a democracy after Trump the autocrat. Probably not literally true, although I don't know what to believe anymore.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:13 PM on May 16, 2016


permanent places to hold these events every 4 years
How about ditching the concept of a host city?


Then you lose out on the hidden underside of the olympic program. An athletic breeding program through the forced short term cohabitation extremely healthy young fit people who are having the time of their lives.
posted by srboisvert at 1:14 PM on May 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


but the 2024 bids are from US, France, Italy, and Hungary

And Boston, Oslo and Hamburg have all withdrawn their bids. Time: Why no one wants to bid on the Olympics
posted by Melismata at 1:17 PM on May 16, 2016


But the 2018 World Cup is going to be just fine.

Or they will seem that way compared to the total corrupto-clusterf*ck that will be the 2022 World Cup.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 1:36 PM on May 16, 2016


Srboisvert, I'm sure Tinder will gladly bridge that particular gap in the traditional Olympic experience.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:44 PM on May 16, 2016


Somebody remake Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but the Big Grift at the end is running the IOC or FIFA.

The end gag would be our heroes making off in a Rolls laden with dollar-sign bags of cash and jewels and Matisseseses and waving goodbye to the marks as they tear off down the road. Then, as the dust settles around the still-waving marks, one leans over to the other and says, "Wow, we really got off cheap this time!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:50 PM on May 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Do gold medals translate to big money for most athletes? If not, the desire to win one by cheating baffles me. Doesn't that carry secret shame?


Short answer, yes.
In addition to straight payouts from national federations for medal-winners, there's money, sometimes a lot, to be made from corporate sponsorships from the likes of Nike, adidas and Gatorade or the equipment-manufacturers in your particular niche sport.
posted by stargell at 2:21 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Srboisvert, I'm sure Tinder will gladly bridge that particular gap in the traditional Olympic experience.

The London Olympics crashed Grindr.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:25 PM on May 16, 2016


The USSR? Trabants?

Did I stumble into 1975?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:01 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think athletes should be allowed all the performance-enhancing drugs they want but before every event they are all injected with a massive dose of performance-diminishing drugs to even it out.
posted by um at 6:27 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


But why not just let everyone take them?

Because that position is functionally indistinguishable from "let's kill young people for entertainment."
posted by mhoye at 7:18 PM on May 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Then you lose out on the hidden underside of the olympic program. An athletic breeding program through the forced short term cohabitation extremely healthy young fit people who are having the time of their lives.

Are many children conceived and/or long-term couples formed in these circumstances?
posted by acb at 2:14 AM on May 17, 2016


I had the same question. I think it assumes a high level of ignorance among the athletes to suppose that a lot of pregnancies result from all that sex. My assumption is that people who are so into their bodies would be very aware of the possible consequences.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:28 AM on May 17, 2016


Because that position is functionally indistinguishable from "let's kill young people for entertainment."

Which is completely consistent with the American fetish for high school football.
posted by delfin at 5:35 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's insane that plans are still moving forward for the Brazil Olympics. They obviously need to be cancelled. But the doping thing does raise complicated issues in my mind. While the links above clearly point to clear cut cheating, in our current world where most people take multiple medications every day, some of which have performance-enhancing qualities for every day life (albuterol, ritalin), not to mention in the age of CRISPR, I don't think we can draw any kind of clear line between "natural" and "enhanced" performance.
posted by latkes at 7:32 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are many children conceived and/or long-term couples formed in these circumstances?

There are hundreds of thousands of condoms distributed to the athletes every Olympics, so probably not.
posted by Lexica at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2016


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