Blast From the Past

sergeich

The story on doping and potential ban of Team Russia from participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio is reaching its climax.

The former sports superpower is about to be disqualified from being a part of the Olympics. Back in the old days, it seemed to be unthinkable. Since its first Olympics in 1952, Team USSR missed the Summer Games only once. In 1984, they boycotted the Olympics in Los Angeles. They chose to do that as a backfire at the boycott of the Olympics in Moscow by USA and other western world countries. Needless to say, unlike what might happen now, it was their choice no to come.

Not this time.

I think my old weightlifting coach is smiling now looking from up there at the twist of the doping story today.

He hated drugs in sports. He was an old time lifter who competed back in the 1950s and he was very vocal about PEDs.

He never actually explained to us the reasoning of this.

Obviously, we were juniors and it was completely unethical to behave differently. However, I saw other coaches and they didn’t seem to be bothered by the ethics.

Maybe there was something else behind my coach’s stand on this. Too bad- he never told us.

The photo featured with this story was made in our old Olympic weightlifting gym in the early 1980s. The one on the right is my coach. I am in the middle. My teammate Igor (I forgot his last name) is on the right.

Once I got some courage and asked the coach:

“Those drugs… When did it all start and who was the first to use them?”

He looked at me and the pupils of his eyes all of a sudden shrank to a tiny little dot.

“Why do you need to know? It’s all crap! You understand? Crap!”

It became quiet in the gym.

“If I ever find out that you are taking this crap, you are out. Never come back. Never.”

End of discussion.

That was a long time ago. There was no WADA at the time. No super sophisticated testing equipment.

Nowadays, I don’t compete anymore. I just enjoy the history of the sport and its heroes. I don’t propagate usage of drugs and I don’t belong to the ones who focuses mostly on the dark side of the sport. It’s always been there and who knows if it will ever disappear.

It shouldn’t outnumber all of the beautiful and memorable events and legends in the history of sports. Otherwise, the decades of our admiration of records and big time championships might turn into a passion of a bunch of idiots who somehow missed the point that there is always a dark side existing even in the most honorable celebration.

With all this said, here is an absolute truth – honor the rules and compete fair. Don’t break the rules. Any sport without rules is no sport. There are no winners then. Everybody are losers.

Honor the rules. Compete fair. No doubts about it.

I think my old weightlifting coach is smiling now looking from up there at the twist of the doping story today.


 

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