While watching the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi, I was confused by the athletes who marched behind the Olympic flag and were competing as “independent” athletes. I wasn’t aware of the ban of the Indian Olympic Association due to corruption, and hence the reason the Indian athletes were marching as independent athletes, until today when the Indian Olympic Association was reinstated. They were the first Association to be reinstated while the Olympics were taking place and they were reinstated because they held elections on Sunday to elect new officials.
Apparently this ban on the Indians has been in place since December 2012, when the officials who were being investigated for corruption were elected to serve as Secretary and Secretary-General of their national association. Those readers who live in the US, take a moment right now to thank God or whoever you pray to that you live where “innocent until proven guilty” exists. So the IOC banned the Indian nation from competing under their country’s flag until they elected new officials.
I’m not really sure what happened between December 2012 and February 2014, but the Indian Olympic Association finally got onto the task of responding to this ban and elected new officials just in time for Shiva Keshavan, the Indian luger (the crazy guy who trains on Himalayan roads – I’ve inserted the YouTube of his training runs that will make your hair stand on end) to march behind his country’s flag for the Closing Ceremonies.
Now, being from Salt Lake City, and remembering the corruption surrounding the original organizers for those games (remember the Mormon guy who had a huge number of visits to a whore house as “Olympic marketing” and “Officials entertainment”?), and thinking back on how that was handled, the idea that corruption may be rampant throughout the IOC pops back into the forefront of my mind. There have been ongoing allegations about bribery during the site selection process, Committee heads who expect “presents” during the games, and other, shadier gifts (see Salt Lake above). I’m guessing the IOC debate about the Indian officials may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Too bad not everyone shares the Olympic dream and follows the Olympic Creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
In my world “fighting well” doesn’t involve corruption of any sort… just saying.