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Can Vladimir Putin Win the New Olympic Policy Game?

© AP Photo / Ivan SekretarevRussian President Vladimir Putin, left, gives an award to Margarita Mamun, who won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics individual, during an awarding ceremony for Russia's Olympians in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, gives an award to Margarita Mamun, who won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics individual, during an awarding ceremony for Russia's Olympians in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International
Forced to play in a rigged game of Olympic level political intrigue, can Russia gain a fair advantage? The IAAF and Sebastian Coe have taken sports into a new realm, one where fair play has been redefined as "anything goes".

I would never presume to suggest a strategy for Russia or for Vladimir Putin. If I were president of Russia though, there would be hell to pay for corporate support of political gamesmanship. As a case in point, the recent banning of clean Russian track and field athletes, and the even more onerous banning by the IAAF of para Olympians, should spur a Russian governmental constriction of sport’s money mechanism. Here’s a strategy sure to raise the bar in the new Cold War games.

The depth of hypocricy western government and business is involved in today is unbelievable. When Sebastian Coe and the International Association of Athletics Federations leveled the full weight of corporate, media, and political mud slinging onto all of Russia’s athletes recently, most true sportsmen shuddered.

For me, I cannot shake the feeling humanity’s only guiding force has been sold out, bought by the purveyors of greed, and metastasized into a disease that will eventually lead to the end of athletics as we knew it. On the flimsiest of evidence, without an inkling of transparency for the public, Coe and his partners have taken over the game. Ironically, the proof of this is right before our eyes. 

Champions of the Business of Sport

Closing ceremony of the XXXI Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro - Sputnik International
Life of a Volunteer: Inside Look at Rio 2016 Olympics
Sebastian Coe was implicated first, when he and his nemesis Britons Steve Ovett and Steve Cram emerged out of nowhere to dominate distance running. Without going into a history lesson, these three athletes possessed no gripping genetic or physiological superiority over previous world record runners, they just “appeared” on the scene and then took over.

This was in the age of steroids and blood doping before rules caught up, just as the American professionals started getting caught. The short story is, Coe and some others were accused of various ways of cheating, though no one ever proved a thing. Fast forward to the London Olympics, and the sponsorship billions rolled past Coe, the organizers, the IAAF, and so on.

After the London games Coe’s sports stock shot up dramatically when he became the Chime Communications sports marketing subsidiary, CSM Sport and Entertainment. If there ever was a conflict of interest on our world, creating a lord of sports from a business opportunist ranks up there. Pay close attention here, for the travesty that is athletics today will become utterly transparent.

Coe was the worldwide ambassador for Nike until he finally stepped down. Pressure over this whole Russia doping circus came to bear on Lord Coe for a while, as allegations he may have been helping the company with the Eugene 2021 bidding process. Nike, a Eugene based company, will clearly benefit from those games. Coe has also been at the center of controversy over favoritism to sponsors like Coke and others, but this is a secondary matter now. The Brit running legend’s role in knowing about a vast doping stain on the sport even before London, is the subject of a new inquiry into allegations he lied to Parliament. To put the situation bluntly, it appears to many people the powers over sport may have put the fox in charge of the hen house. But Coe’s apparent malfeasance grows by leaps and hurdles almost daily now that Rio is over. 

Very few people pay attention to the Olympics once the closing ceremonies end. Usain Bolt is not there waiting in the tunnel, on the starting blocks, to enthrall us with the potential of human endeavor, not once the last tape has been broken. Michael Phelps has long since dried off the rivulets of chlorine infused H20, the barely clung to his record breaking effort. Beach volleyballs fell into the sand of Copacabana for the last time, a rude Irish boxer left Brazil, never to be cared about again. And Sebastian Coe and the IAAF’s new PR guru Olivier Gers plan photo ops to cover a really bloody stain. And here it is. 

When Only Branding Matters

When obviously clean champions like two time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva would be banned from Rio, I swore I would never stop until the truth of this sports catastrophe comes out. As for Coe, I tweeted him as a sportsman with foreboding; the world is watching with keen eyes the people who just may have betrayed us all. Underneath all this though, the evidence WADA and the IAAF trumped up the allegations against the Russian state are damning. This fragment from a report by RT, one scrutinized by Global Research and others, is condemning. We may soon discover that the so called Professor McLaren report was akin to the boundless “Putin” allegations etc:

“Sports officials have accused WADA of “sexing up” the case against Russian athletes by handing over to sporting federations the names of competitors who had no evidence against them in order to invoke the “nuclear option” of expelling Russia from the Games.”

Now, as a suggestion for Mr. Putin and Russia, allow me to present something hardly anyone knows.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, gives an award to Margarita Mamun, who won the gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics individual, during an awarding ceremony for Russia's Olympians in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia - Sputnik International
Putin Awards Russian Athletes After 2016 Rio Olympics
Sebastian Coe’s company CSM Sport & Entertainment has just raked in what I estimate to be millions in business associated with the Rio Olympics. Most armchair hurdlers or shot putters don’t even know Coe is involved in making money off sport, but he is a champion at this too. On CSM’S website you will find a proud announcement of the successes for clients at Rio! Yes, you will. “CSM at the heart of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games” is the epitome of arrogance, the certification these people have no fear or shame, the company that represented the likes of Dow Chemical, the Bradesco, the Official Banking Sponsor of the Games, and CSM tweaking “more than 200 guests from Korea and Japan” associated with the coming games stinks of corrupted ideals.

Even the management of the Rio mascots was put in the hands of Sebastian Coe’s sports marketing cadre. CSM boasts about ticket management sponsors Microsoft, McDonald’s, Cisco, Coca Cola, Visa and more, and how the lottery funded Team GB. Adidas, Samsung, all the familiar names are there. We live in a world where decency and sportsmanship hardly matters at all, where branding and money are gods. 

Let this sink in. Let the sheer arrogance and nonchalance register. These people know the world does not care, and they do not even care if the world knows, and while Vladimir Putin reminds them of their own disgrace over banning para Olympians, the corporate carelessness continues to pollute sport. 

Sebastian Coe is the Executive Chairman of CSM, Zak Brown in the CEO, Ian Todd of IMG International fame is an adviser, and the rest of the team is made up of former key execs from companies like Apple to media entities like ESPN. Jim Glover is there, the man who snagged Heineken International, GlaxoSmithKline, and Land Rover for CSM. But I know most of you are with me by now. Certainly Vladimir Putin’s media team is on this too, so here goes with the plan. Russia should sever ties with any company associated with CSM, Sebastian Coe, and the people involved in rigging these games. Yes, I said “rigging”, because this is what they might as well have done. Think about it.

Rigged by Definition

Russia placed fourth in the overall medals count at Rio. Imagine how such a thing is even possible. I watched BBC croon over Team GB medal contenders like American soccer moms, literally begging the gods of sport to make Britain competitive again. To be honest, it was pitiful to watch. British announcer shunned Russian athletes, British athletes commenting often jeered or laughed at any mishap befalling the Russians. This was not merely my perception, it was the reality, a very nasty fact. Now Coe sidles up to true champions like Usian Bolt, for photo ops that can drag his sold out hide out of disgrace. At least this is what the IAAF’s new PR genius aims for. But this rigging cannot work. 

“Rigged is defined as something in the proper order for use, or is something that is fixed in a dishonest way to guarantee a desired outcome. A contest where the winner is predetermined beforehand is an example of a contest that is rigged.”

Sebastian Coe and the IAAF tried to disgrace an entire team of athletes, and an entire nation. Olympic sports will never be the same, by the time all the facts come out. Sports fans around the world will have to finally come to grips with the reality – sport is not on the level – outcomes are fixed by myriad means.

Mr. Putin should make this travesty devastatingly expensive for the likes of Dow and the others. Their investment in unsportsmanlike conduct should be utter disqualification from doing any business in Russia or within its influence network. It is time people of this world took a stand. We are either for fairness and good sportsmanship, or we are against. If Vladimir Putin wants to really play hard ball here, then nixing both Dow Chemical – Dupont will destroy billions in capital, and maybe even nix those company’s plans at a merger.

This Bloomberg story could give Russia and Putin a gold medal in beating unfair sports practices. In 2012 Dow had sales in Russia and the CIS totaling more than $700 million dollars. That’s almost a billion dollar Mr. Putin could shift to Russian or Chinese competitors with Dow. Closing that plant would also make Dow’s support of Coe and CSM a lot more expensive.

I leave all readers to the implications for Dow, Coca Cola, Nike, and all the sponsors of rigged sports. 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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