Sun Yang and China win IOC and WADA like Yefimova did this before
Swimming can save Russia again
China keeps recovering positions of one of the world’s hegemonies it lost at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Its legal victory in the case “Sun Yang vs WADA” gives Russia some chance too, thinks Realnoe Vremya’s journalist Dzhaudat Abdullin.
Chinese sport’s superstar swimmer Sun Yang was disqualified for eight years this February, but the verdict changed in December, since one of the judges or, more precisely, Franco Frattini might have been biased against all Chinese. This was deduced after examining his posts on his personal social accounts and was taken into consideration by Switzerland’s supreme court. Now there will be another case of the CAS with a new panel of judges.
Sun Yang was disqualified on 28 February, and his lawyers have been looking for loopholes in the accusation all this time and have found in the end discrimination on racial grounds. Come on... Now it takes journalists an hour to examine a necessary person’s social networks to create a portrait. Even Chinese hieroglyphs can be decoded, not to mention Latin characters Frattini expressed his anti-Chinese thoughts in, he is, by the way, Italy’s ex-foreign minister.
The case is that China is behind Sun Yang. “If somebody harmed you, don’t take your revenge. If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by,” Lao Tse used to say. And China didn’t take its revenge, they just “waited by the river”. Winter passed, summer neared, and in July the country refused to host a number of summer sports competitions, which became the first wake-up call. While in autumn already, corpses of the Grand Prix’s final in figure skating, stages of world short track and speed skating cups as well as the World Single Distance Championships and World Junior Figure Skating Championships floated in the Huang He. The Yangtze waters washed away the Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships, six competitions in these disciplines that are test tournaments for the 2020 Olympics in Beijing.
Moreover, this world cup was scheduled for February, while the world junior figure skating championships were for early March, which meant only one thing: China multiplied almost the whole season of two international winter sports federations at once by zero. Other competitions, particularly the February stage of the Biathlon World Cup, remained up in the air.
Moreover, China hosts all domestic tournaments on its agenda, including with a lot of foreigners competing in local championships in basketball, volleyball, football. Why not? It is already officially permitted not to wear masks in Wuhan where the virus came from. China defeated coronavirus and now can easily declare war on the IOC and competitions held under its aegis. And the International Olympic Committee turned out to be powerless, as there is nobody who wants to hold such competitions in the world “free of doping”.
IOC is just public organisation with the only asset — Olympics
China is anyway wise. It didn’t waste itself on rhetoric that’s characteristic of our functionaries and deputies, it didn’t urge the IOC and WADA to reasonability, though there was none in Sun Yang’s punishment. The superstar was disqualified for being caught violating anti-doping rules twice, that’s to say, he didn’t even use doping but violated anti-doping rules. Trimetazidine, a French heart medicine, an analogue of the widely known meldonium, was the first case. WADA began fighting against heart drugs precisely with trimetazidine considering that athletes should not support the heart muscle, might they die like Hungarian rower György Kolonics in 2008 or Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen in 2012 and another hundred athletes with different levels and ranks. Fine, it is a separate talk.
The second case of the Chinese athlete can be considered as wrongdoing, that’s to say, missing a test. To face punishment, one has to do this three times. No problem, Sun Yang diligently does the tests successfully in competitions, as he constantly wins medals. After 2018, he successfully competed at the 2019 World Championships, won it going through mandatory doping control. Are the eight years given to him for these two violations?
But all these arguments might not influence the judges. Neither did inconsistencies with Russian athletes influence them. Or they did at times. When Yulia Yefimova’s team took the case seriously and justified both herself and tens of 2016 Rio Olympic teammates. When skiers defended their honour, decency and medals, the first, the second and the third things were given back to them. Though Aleksandr Legkov’s disqualification for Sochi in 2014 still looked like total unfairness. Immediately after the Olympics, on 2 March, he won a bronze in 15 km freestyle cross-country skiing at a World Cup stage in Finnish Lahti, on 8 March, he won a bronze in 50 km classical cross-country skiing in Norwegian Oslo. On 15 March, he finished third in 30 km (skiathlon) in the World Cup’s final in Swedish Falun. And he went through doping control, which is mandatory for all medallists, everywhere.
If China hasn’t stopped the situation with Sun Yang now, who knows what humiliation he would have faced. Three years ago, Hajo Seppelt who promoted the story with Grigory Rodchenkov, shot a film about state supported doping in China resting on the national team’s former doctor Xue Yinxian. WADA launched an investigation in China, but now the empire has responded, and it has turned out that neither WADA nor the IOC is competitive, as the Games and competitions held under their aegis are their only asset. The Olympics have been put off, test competitions have been cancelled, and the IOC now looks like a soap bubble compared to a huge, united and self-confident China.
Why China did it
China looks united, in any case towards the external world. 79-year-old Xue Yinxian spilled the beans only when she moved to Germany and sought political refuge. And the old lady talked about the 80s and 90s when China was really hooked on doping, for what it was repeatedly punished. WADA, which was created on 10 November 1999, has no legal right to launch an investigation. Otherwise, for instance, an investigation on the IOC management’s links with Nazism could be initiated in reply. It approved its hosting two Olympics at once in 1936, it might be an investigation on the friendship between then IOC President Henri de Baillet-Latour and Adolf Hitler, baron de Coubertin’s worship of Nazism, on the fact that new leaders of Germany’s national Olympic committees Karl Ritter von Halt and Willi Daume were renowned activists of the Nazi party...
Sadly, our elite, not only in sport, has split like civic society a hundred years ago. In December alone, the mass media have been made happy with revelations of Fetisov, Reztsova, Orlov about doping in Russia. Vyacheslav Fetisov, a Russian State Duma deputy, attacked his successors as sport minister claiming that all three people (Mutko, Kolobkov, Matytsin) didn’t establish “business relations either with WADA or a number of international federations”. Now avid patriot Mr Fetisov spent all the 90s in America where he was called up by our national ice hockey team only three times, and somehow he became Russia’s sports minister. He was the person who hired some Grigory Rodchenkov as head of the Anti-Doping Committee in 2006. Doping scandals in biathlon in 2007 (Akhatova, Yuryeva, Yaroshenko) broke out under him. Such a character as Valery Kulichenko worked in Russian athletics, and there were two doping scandals in athletics (Lysenko and Khoroshikh) precisely under Fetisov.
In 2008, seven athletes (Yegorova, Pischalnikova, Soboleva, Tomashova, Fomenko, Khanafeyeva, Cherkasova) weren’t allowed to compete at the Olympics — the latter formally happened under Mutko, but “he did nothing, just came into office” at that moment.
Gennady Orlov said that “now biathlon has a huge problem. Clearly, they (Russians) stopped taking doping and didn’t win a medal in 39 competitions”. For some time, it seemed that we will remember this poor commentator for nothing but a deliberate misspelling of last names and names of teams and cities, but the daddy decided to remind us about himself and shared his opinion about the sport he is worse at than at Dutch football players.
At the same time, when biathletes didn’t win medals for Russia, our skiers efficiently do this, even without Legkov and Vylegzhanin at the world championships in 2017, without Ustyugov at the 2018 Olympics and now. And this happens in skiing where speed and endurance are more important than in biathlon.
At last, Anfisa Reztsova blurted out that “we all take doping”, and this is the key takeaway that was remembered from her huge interview with a federal online newspaper. Moreover, the “doping user” easily gave birth to four daughters, two of them became athletes (Daria Virolainen and Kristina Reztsova). Anfisa’s youngest daughter was born at the age of 44 and she simultaneously became a granny. Reztsova remembered her youngest daughter and first grandson: “I brought them up together from year one. I was breastfeeding her, he ran to me: ‘Granny, give it to me,’ and was sucking the other breast. I am both a granny and mum.” And here is a question for certified doctors and ordinary mums what miraculous doping it is so that you suck it as much as you can, become a hero mother giving birth to healthy children with 19 years of difference? Meanwhile, people began to fight doping first because it had a negative impact on athletes’ life and health presenting sterility to women and men. Should then they share this medicine with numerous women dreaming of progeny?
I am not against the fight against doping! I am against its imitation
To make sure the readers don’t think the author of the article likes athletes taking doping, I will say from the beginning: no, no and no! But the number of justified doping users from England, Canada and the USA grows year after year, and the reasons for justification are funnier and funnier: “exchange of liquids during sexual intercourse”, “banned pills fell on the soup from the shelf”, “a man taking banned substances urinated in the hay that a horse ate”. The whole world is taken for idiots like in the case when athletic coach Antonio Salazar was disqualified in 2019 for a doping programme, but nobody among his star pupils was affected. Who did American Salazar feed the banned substances with then?
But all this is details. WADA itself isn’t Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount that can’t be questioned. It is an organisation that was chaired by Canadian, Australian and English men for 20 years, they made up the rules the whole world community goes by. But why? The panel has had only one Russian over this time, and we haven’t had our citizens there since 2015. Since then, xenon inert gas and argon noble gas, Russian scientists’ developments have been on the list of banned substances. Then, on Germans’ request, meldonium was banned. In other words, there aren’t Russians, and previously permitted medicines that are linked with Russian sport were listed as banned substances.
Unfortunately, this can’t be an argument in any debate or trial, no matter how strange WADA’s regulations seem to be, the watchdog has now become an analogue of the casino that may not let clients in without explaining the reasons. However, the precedent of China’s victory by discrediting Frattini gives Russia a chance. As Igor Zhdanov, Ukraine’s ex-minister of sport whose career development isn’t linked with Ukraine’s successes (on the contrary, the results were catastrophic) but his active anti-Russian position and policy has been a member of WADA’s Foundation Board since October 2019: “I will fight for... keeping Russia that makes athletes take banned substances and replaces their probes clear of world sport,” this phrase speaks for itself. What negotiability can we talk about with a biased person who is a board member of the organisation that allegedly should be equidistant?