Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday February 27, 2018
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018: ‘the Games of new horizons’?
Moments before the XXIII Winter Games ended amid a furious barrage of K-pop and firecrackers, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, insisted: “We have seen here how sport can make the world a better place … these are the Games of new horizons.”
Watching athletes from North and South Korea strolling happily together, for once separated by centimetres rather than 73 years’ antipathy, it was entirely possible to be swept along by waves of sentiment and hope.
Yet another image of Bach, from earlier in the day, was also hard to shake: one of the IOC president despondently confirming that Russian athletes would not march under their own flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony, because of two doping violations at these Games.
Especially as, with his very next breath, he also promised that the Russian Olympic Committee’s suspension would be lifted very soon if there were no more positive tests. That suspension was imposed on 5 December and will have probably lasted less than 100 days when it is lifted.
As a response to the most audacious state-sponsored doping programme in history, it counts as barely a slap on the wrist – even when a $15m fine, being forced to call themselves “Olympic Athletes from Russia”, and a ban on the Russian flag and anthem in Pyeongchang is tacked on.
A closing ceremony that began with the crowd of 35,000 people counting down together to say “one” as the athletes entered the stadium ended with the Russians close to being officially readmitted to the Olympic fold.
On the final day of competition, the Olympic Athletes from Russia won their second gold of the Games, in the men’s ice hockey. But it only inched them up to 13th in the medal table – a far cry from their first place in Sochi when their athletes were fuelled by a cocktail of steroids as well as patriotic fervour.
The next Winter Olympic games will be in Beijing in 2022. (Source: The Guardian)