Thomas
Hunter at the Crikey Sports desk:

The days of officials and athletes being
outraged by a competitor testing positive for a banned substance at the
Olympics seem to be over.

Last night, Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva
was booted out of the Games and ordered to return her bronze medal, awarded on
Monday, and the response was one of weary resignation.

“Doping cases are
things that happen in Olympic Games,” said International Olympic Committee
(IOC) president Jacques Rogge,
almost between yawns.

Almost as wearily,
Russian officials claimed Pyleva had taken an over the counter drug to help
with an ankle injury (sigh), which had been prescribed by an unofficial doctor
(sigh), something team officials had warned their athletes not to do “a
thousand times” before (double sigh). Judges gave them zero out of ten for
originality.

If that’s true, Pyleva should have known
better. She won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics and has been at the top level
of her sport for years. There is no excuse for making this mistake, as Warney
will now tell you.

What’s worse, Pyleva didn’t even bother
turning on the histrionics. All we got was this, reported by Associated Press:
“It’s a shocking situation, because I’ve always been against using banned
medications.” Where’s the theatre in that? We didn’t even
get a teary proclamation of innocence?

Turin has been a tough event for the cross country skiers. Twelve others
were suspended before the start of the Games, with World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) chief Dick Pound saying he suspects the sport is riddled with dopers.

“It’s too much of
a coincidence to have 12 athletes with hugely high Hb (haemoglobin) levels just
before the Games,” he said. Of those twelve, seven have since been re-instated,
with Pound suggesting that’s only because WADA haven’t been able to prove their
guilt.

Let’s hope Dick and his testers have a quieter
time during the Melbourne 06 Friendly Games.

Peter Fray

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