Olympic Reflections – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Consistent with its cultural and geopolitical biases, the Western mass media have selective blinders when it comes to criticizing the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Within this prism, the interference of the IOC in Belarusian athletics (athletics) personnel and the investigation declared on Russian state television is quite acceptable.
This latest case concerns the mocking comments directed at some Western LGBTQ athletes. By comparison, there is no big call to investigate (to put it rhetorically) US state-sponsored people like Travis Tygart and Lilly King making deceptive negative remarks against Russian athletes.
The aforementioned Belarusian situation involves the treatment of disgruntled sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who openly complained about being selected for a relay team – followed by her being sent home. Subsequently, she claimed political suppression, which made her the first world title (not just sports) on the BBC, for at least an entire day, if not longer.
Before Tsimanouskaya was sent home, her complaint was about a coaching decision, as well as a claim that Belarusian athletics is not well managed. There are many coaches in the world who would not appreciate such a manner – arguing that it was damaging team morale.
In the meantime, how many Belarusian Olympic athletes have shown solidarity with Tsimanouskaya? How many of them fled Belarus? Belarus with obvious human rights problems does not by default make it a real political dissident.
I remember the nonsense written about Artemii Panarin, supposedly threatened by the Russian government for his political views. To date, there has been no such scenario. Since Panarin’s stated political comments, the greatest threat to him appears to have occurred when he underwent a crude body check in an NHL game, in the United States, by a non-Russian player.
You Olympic historians will remember German long jumper Lutz Long congratulating Jesse Owens after their competition at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Apparently, Long suffered no reprisals from the Nazi government.
In a spirit of sportsmanship, the Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh, bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, hugged her Russian rival, Mariya Lasitskene, who won gold. This scene was a bit too much for extremist nationalists linked to the Kiev regime, who openly criticized Mahuchikh. This criticism concerns the many Ukrainian citizens, who have family and close friends in Russia, without having an anti-Russian outlook. An IOC investigation on this subject?
In Tokyo, the individual all-around rhythmic gymnastics competition was turned upside down, with Israeli Linoy Ashram winning gold against favorite Dina Averina. In Russia, the judgment of this event was the subject of strong criticism, pointing out that the Ashram made notable errors in its routine. On the other hand, some say that the Ashram carried out the most difficult program. Russia protested against the decision to no avail.
Russia has a valid Olympic precedent to expect a review. At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Canada’s leading pairs figure skating team won a joint gold after North American media complained about its initial second place finish. In question, the leading Russian pair had a snafu, while performing the most difficult program.
My last post on the Tokyo Olympics took this response extracted and slightly edited (without distorting anything) from someone in Russia:
I am a patriot of my country. I don’t like a lot of things inside the country. But in which country is everything going well? It is particularly unfortunate that Russia does not know how to professionally deal with disinformation in foreign media. Russia must learn to defend itself and to attack in the media. Your help is enormous. Thank you. I hope that many will change their negative perception of Russia.
In the West, it is fashionable to present the Russians as cheaters. The relative lack of outrage at James Clapper’s bigoted anti-Russian remark comes to mind. A few years ago, there was an advertisement running in the United States, involving the anti-Russian extraordinary Bela Karolyi, frustrated at the sight of a Russian judge represented.
In order to maintain neutrality as much as possible in major international competitions, it is common not to have referee officials in matches involving their country. Regarding neutrality, the World Anti-Doping Agency is headed by a Pole, Witold Banka, displaying an anti-Russian bias. Ditto for the British head of World Athletics (athletics) Sebastian Coe. The almost total ban on Russian athletes from athletics at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and the ten Russians’ quota in the sport in Tokyo have benefited Poland and Britain, in conjunction with an anti -Russian dominant in these two countries.
Michel Averko is a New York-based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article was originally placed at the Foundation for Strategic Culture on August 10.