2010 Olympics Business News for the Vancouver and Whistler
regions of British Columbia. Plus, Alberta, the rest of Canada, Washington
State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana & California
Marion Jones, Olympics Gold
Finally Admits to Doping 8 Years After the Fact
It took eight long years, but Olympics track superstar Marion Jones on
October 4, 2007, has finally admitted to cheating using steroids. Without
doubt, the Marion Jones, BALCO, THG cover up is the most controversial
and widely published drug scandal ever for the International Olympics
Committee, the IOC.
Athletes have been deceived, and you have been deceived.
Here's what I published about Olympics Doping and Jones
in early 2006 in my book, Leverage Olympic Momentum.
excerpts from LeverageOlympicMomentum.com
First the athlete … all else is secondary. This book is in part
a tribute to amateur athletes, the people who devote their whole lives
to a gold medal dream. Unfortunately, somewhere in the last twenty years
corporate greed turned their dream into a nightmare. Amateur Olympic hopefuls
are unhappy. You can see it in their faces when they don’t win gold, even
though they just made personal best and were only one one-hundredths of
a second behind the leader. You can hear it in their voices when they
apologize to whole countries because they feel they let the entire nation
down. Olympic organizations and media have managed to suck all the fun
and spirit of competing for the sake of competition out of the game. Unless
you are an elite athlete with a gold medal hanging around your neck media
barely gives you the time of day, except of course to humiliate you with
pictures and descriptions of your most vulnerable moments. How many times
do we have to see athletes stumbling in the ‘agony of defeat?’
U.S. skier Bode Miller ranted to a reporter about the pressure placed
on amateur athletes. He was referring to doping when he said, “Sport is
born clean, and it would stay that way if it was the athletes who ran
it for the pleasure of taking part. But then the fans and the media intervene
and finish up by corrupting it with the pressure that they exercise. .
. . From this inhuman pressure, doping is born, because the athlete feels
the imperative of having to be number one. I believe instead that sport
should be a private pressure, a challenge for yourself.” (ap2)
It’s important to distinguish between criticizing Olympic operations with
the intent of learning how to leverage the momentum, and criticizing the
Games in an effort to protest against the Olympics. Some people confuse
these two very separate issues. The latter, protesting the Games for political
reasons, has been a part of the Olympic spectacle for many years and is
largely supported by people who have global political motivations. That’s
not what this book is about.
Our reason for evaluating Olympic organizations, which is to better understand
the Games and have ‘everyone’ profit, is a relatively new enterprise.
In fact this book is the first time this type of information has been
assembled with the intent of improving relationships between athletes,
small and midsize businesses, and the big box Olympic enterprise ...
They [Olympic athletes] feel they have no choice but to take illicit drugs
in order to remain competitive. In most cases it's not entirely their
fault and my heart truly goes out to some of them because most of the
blame has to be attributed to the IOC, local Olympic organizations, sponsors,
governments, coaches, scientists, and trainers for turning the Games into
a race for wealth. Young impressionable athletes do not stand a chance
when the people they look up to and respect are the immoral purveyors
of the greatest sport spectacle on earth. Unfortunately, sponsors cheat,
the IOC cheats, judges cheat, coaches cheat - and athletes are literally
caught in the middle.
The Olympics are about money. Don't let the IOC lull you into a romantic
notion it's about sports and athleticism. They left that behind long ago.
It serves their purpose to keep you thinking along these lines though
because it makes it easier for them to prospect volunteers and raise taxes
in the name of civic pride, while sponsors like Coca-Cola and Visa trundle
off to the bank with billions of dollars in profit.
He [Dick Pound] unabashedly goes on to write that officials are in "collusion"
and have personal agendas that negatively affect Olympic business. He
readily admits doping is the biggest problem, which is expected because
he 'is' the president of the World Anti-Doping Association. Pound also
blames media for the mess the Olympics are in.
The IOC would like us to believe 'they' have control over the system,
but in reality it is sponsor company shareholders who have power over
the Games. Gold medallists make millions in sponsorship fees. Plus some
countries pay their athletes as much as $150,000 if they win a gold medal,
which drives athletes to finish first. It also influences their parents,
coaches, and trainers. Athletes don't stand a chance to stay neutral.
When you see figure skaters sitting in the "kiss and cry" area after their
performance they are crying because they just lost out on millions of
dollars of sponsorship incentives. Losing a medal represents a huge financial
loss and economic hardship for athletes. The crying isn't as wholesome
as the television cameras and colour commentators lead us to believe.
Ben Johnson didn't invent steroid enhancement, he merely resorted to it
after watching everyone else around the world cheating. Like many athletes
he believed it was the only way to compete against corrupt judges, a bribe-taking
IOC organization, plus influential coaches, trainers, and his peers. What
chance did he stand if he didn't get in the game with everyone else? Misguided
to be sure, but nonetheless it was his reality and one shared by many
athletes around the world.
The most sensitive issue in this book addresses how amateur athletes are
perceived. Amateur athletes sacrifice and make incredible contributions
to us all. We love them. They help us connect with our goals and aspirations.
We respect them for working hard for little pay.
Amateur athlete David Ford, a kayak champion, stated in reference to the
Olympics, “It is almost like we are a forgotten entity in the whole process.”
Ford’s remark was in reference to how well sponsors do in relation to
the meager sums that “trickle down” to athletes.
Amateur athletes truly are our modern day heroes and role models. However,
there is a dark side to Olympic athletes too. For example, when Olympic
organizations have a crisis situation they immediately parade gold medal
athletes in front of microphones to bail the Games out of hot water, whether
it is to combat bribery charges or judging scandals. An Olympic medal
winner is usually the first in line to run interference and take the brunt
of the attack. I’m sure that when Mark Tewksbury was eight years old he
did not dream about becoming a mouthpiece for unscrupulous corporate executives.
Unfortunately it is part of the reality of winning gold. You never know
when the ‘family’ will come calling.
Some athletes refuse to defend the poor judgment of Olympic organizations
and decline to play along, and I truly admire and respect them for their
moral character and conviction. As you know though, all Olympic athletes
are not sportsmanlike and many are not beyond reproach. We regularly see
examples of athletes who cheat by using drugs and excessive intimidation.
Drug use is so rampant it was reported in 2005 by the BBC that, “twice
as many Olympic athletes had their medals taken from them after Athens
than after any other Games.” Detection certainly is a factor because officials
are better at screening for illegal sport drugs, but regardless, the problem
is out of control. International media dubbed Athens “The Dirtiest Games
DNA manipulation is the current hot ticket on the artificial enhancement
stage and it is substantially more effective than steroids. Even well
known Olympians like Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong are
embroiled in controversy.
Everyone is looking for an edge on the competition. Unfortunately you
can only train or improve technique so much. The human container isn't
that efficient. Almost every animal on earth can outrun us, and most have
a much higher strength-to-musclemass ratio. We were designed to use our
brain for survival. Ironically, scientists tell us we only use a small
portion of our brain at even the best of times. It seems we aren't very
efficient creatures physically or mentally. Unfortunately, we're just
smart enough to get ourselves into trouble, and that's where drugs come
in. Drugs artificially enhance our performance. We've known it for a long
time and it is an accepted part of professional sports. If professional
athletes use it to improve performance and increase revenue, why shouldn't
amateur athletes do the same?
Athletes have experimented with drugs since the early 1900's. Marathoner
Thomas Hicks was reported to have used a concoction of "strychnine, a
raw egg, and brandy" to give him a little extra boost. In the fifties
Olympic athletes used testosterone, and it wasn't too long afterwards
anabolic steroids hit the scene. The only rule to keep athletes in check
was the rule of survival. They knew they were playing with fire, but athletes
kept it to themselves in order to maintain competitive advantage. It wasn't
until the sixties that the IOC started to clue in to the dangers. Athletes
regularly ingested or injected many types of stimulants, including amphetamines.
It was understood and accepted, but it wasn't until a Danish bike racer
died at the Rome Olympics in 1960 that the IOC decided something had to
be done. And then it wasn't until 1968 in Grenoble that drug testing became
mandatory. In defense of the IOC, it took time to decide which drugs were
dangerous and should be banned, and the process is so complex the problem
still exists today. Although today the difficulty isn't in knowing which
drugs are dangerous, the challenge is being able to detect them. Scientists,
coaches, and athletes are much more sophisticated and deceptive. Some
countries, including the United States, have spawned legal laboratories
to devise chemicals that will improve performance and beat the system.
The modus operandi today for many athletes is not to abstain, but to take
something that can't be traced. Money drives the race. (dp17)
In Turin in 2006 the Italian police raided the Austrian cross-country
and biathlon ski teams in the middle of the night. The saga started after
Walter Mayer, a ski coach who was banned until 2010 by the IOC as a result
of the Salt Lake City scandal, was seen in Turin fraternizing with the
team. The raid by armed police happened while the Austrian team was sleeping.
Their premises were searched and they were subjected to urine and blood
testing. Needless to say they placed last the next day in competition.
Austrian Ski Federation president Peter Schroeksnadel said two members
of the Austrian team, Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann admitted,
"they may have used illegal methods." During the raid authorities said
they saw doping paraphernalia being tossed out the window of the Austrian
team. They later recovered a blood transfusion machine, unlabelled drugs,
and dozens of syringes. It was thought the raid could negatively impact
the chances of Austria winning the Bid to host the Games in 2014. Do you
think? Mayer ran when he learned of the raid and a few hours later crashed
his car into a police roadblock in Austria. He pleaded guilty to civil
disorder, assault, and damage to property. Only seven days before the
raid on the Austrians, Olga Pyleva, a Russian biathlon athlete was tossed
out of the Games and had her medal rescinded for doping. (ap3)
Big money and drug companies fund the labs that make performance-enhancing
chemicals harder and harder to detect. The current frightening step is
genetic management. Scientists are experimenting with genetic splicing
in the name of muscular dystrophy research. It's an ethical reason to
pursue the research, however, when athletes glom on to it, it turns into
Frankensport. When it gets to this level there is no turning back. (dp18)
You're probably ready to say STOP! Enough already - but hang in because
it gets even more interesting. [Juan] Samaranch [past president of the
IOC] went on record with a reporter in 1998 to say he thought "prohibited
drugs should be limited to only those that are dangerous from a health
perspective." He thought the list of restricted drugs was too long. Maybe
he had a point, or maybe he had ulterior motives. Samaranch's statement
caused incredible commotion and further undermined the ethical integrity
of the IOC. Criticism became so intense he had to convene a special meeting
with IOC members to develop a crisis management strategy. (dp19)
Some IOC members want stiffer drug enforcement and others do not. For
example, in 2005 the IOC battled with Italy in an effort to get the Italian
government to repeal laws that will put Olympic athletes caught using
sport-enhancing drugs in prison. The 2006 Olympics in Turin was a perfect
opportunity for the IOC to not only send a message to the world about
doping, but also to let Italy take the brunt of the criticism. Instead
they fought to have Italy soften their position. I'm wondering how badly
the IOC wants to see doping banned? It turned out WADA and the IOC were
given authority to monitor drug use in the Olympic Village in Turin, while
the local police lurked on the sidelines waiting to pounce on dealers
supplying athletes in the Village. (dp20)
WADA came kicking and screaming to life in 1999. It was inevitable that
an organization like the IOC, so wracked with corruption, would have to
source the job out to an independent forum. Surprisingly though, it has
taken years to get governments around the world to agree to WADA sanctions.
You would think governments would sign up quickly, however, the Olympics
is about making make money and this creates incredible complexity. For
example, athletes must be surprise-tested over the course of time at random
intervals throughout the year, and not four times in the same week. Athletes
live all over the world and regularly travel globally to compete, which
adds even greater complexity to the task. To make matters worse, if a
government decides not to pay for its role in the testing procedures they
can't be forced, which means the money has to come from WADA. Does this
make sense to you? A simple solution is to bar the countries from competition
until they pay up, and if they are tardy on too many payments make them
pay far in advance. The problem with instituting regulations like this
is that everyone is on the take and everyone owes someone else a favor,
legal or otherwise. For example, if you bar my country I'll blow the whistle
on some other form of cheating by someone else, maybe even someone in
the IOC. (dp21)
When THG came on the scene it turned the doping world upside down. Tetrahydrogestrinone,
a banned steroid, was designed by scientists in collusion with "doctors,
coaches, trainers and athletes" to be undetectable in doping tests of
the day. Every day new twists enter the picture and create challenges
even WADA can't monitor. Olympic medallists as far back as 2000 could
be drawn into the net and have their medals rescinded. In 2003 the United
States Anti-Doping Agency was given a syringe containing residual amounts
of THG from an anonymous coach. Once they figured out what they were dealing
with news spread fast. Within a short time, scientists, coaches, trainers,
and athletes were brought under investigation. THG is an anabolic steroid
that allows an athlete to train harder and build muscle mass quickly.
BALCO - the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative has been identified as
the source of THG. Their clients allegedly include U.S. track stars Marion
Jones and Tim Montgomery, plus baseball's Barry Bonds and NFL's Bill
Romanowski. Investigators stumbled on BALCO through a tax evasion
case. If they hadn't, who knows how long they would have been in operation.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency could have been going in circles
forever. The most shocking outcome of the investigation - THG was never
tested properly on animals or humans. No one had any idea what the residual
effects could be. Incredible amounts of money flowed between scientists,
coaches, and athletes. Money does crazy things to greedy people. (dp22)
The reality today is that executives go to prison every day for committing
crimes they would have gotten away with in the past. Organizations have
to take responsibility at a micro-level. Ignorance is not an excuse, nor
is it a defense. In the grand scheme of life and death does it really
matter how many gold medals China or United States win? Does it signify
anything relative to their quality of life? Two of the most feared countries
on earth collect the most medals and use it as propaganda to boost pride
and separate themselves even further from the rest of the world. Not exactly
what the founders of the modern Olympics had in mind, but it does sell
advertising and boost much needed morale for disillusioned countrymen.
Pitting country against country has the exact opposite effect of what
they had in mind, yet we continue to follow the old rules. Over the years
something went terribly wrong and no one in the IOC jumped up to curtail
it. The Olympics were originally conceived to be an event of individual
competition. Politics was not supposed to enter into the equation and
neither was money. What went wrong? Maybe it's not wrong. Maybe it was
a great idea at the time, but like driving without seatbelts we got smarter
and moved on. Why is it so difficult for anyone connected with the Olympics
to admit they're in it for the money? Absolutely no one will admit they
have economic motives, Not the IOC, not the sponsors, not the coaches
or the athletes. Something stinks when billions of dollars are riding
on one one-hundredth of a second, but no one will admit to wanting to
collect the pot of gold attached to the gold medal.
... end of excerpt
If you want the whole 2010 story, please read my book.
Talk to us before you talk to them ...
- the book
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Own the Podium?
The official creed (guiding principle) of the Olympics is a quote by the
founding father of the modern day Games Baron de Coubertin. He said, "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."
The Olympic motto consists of three Latin words Citius, Altius, Fortius,
which means, "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The 1924 motto is meant to encourage
athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to the best of their
No where does it imply that winning the most gold medals for your country
is part of the agenda. In fact it implies exactly the opposite.
The IOC maintains that it doesn't actively encourage countries to collectively
win the most gold medals, but on the other hand they also don't institute
anything to ensure that the Games are not turned into corporate money
In fact, IOC sponsorship and partnership business models encourage a win-at-all-costs
mentality. It is the reason they have doping, fraud and bribery scandals.
The IOC invites young people to compete in the Olympics using the original
Creed & Motto. But when it comes to delivering on the promise they
fall incredibly short.
The Olympics today isn't as much about sport as it is about money and
Priorities changed over the years and so too should their Creed &
If athletes go for the gold, and the IOC goes for the gold, and corporate
sponsors go for the gold, and governments go for the gold, and considering
that you will have to foot the bill for their gold, why should
you be edged out of the race?
Move to the starting line.
Own the Podium?
Own Your Home?
Real journalism consists of
what someone doesn't want published,
all the rest is public relations."