guatemala 2007

Child athletes are too valuable for the Olympic system to set age limits

The Olympic Games thrive on high-performing children – some of them so young that they are not even allowed to compete in the Youth Olympic Games. Jens Weinreich discusses why it is so hard for Olympic sports federations to set age limits and shows how it leaves child athletes vulnerable to authoritarian states chasing medals and sport glory. (First published by Play the Game)

The doping case of Kamila Valieva has raised questions about a minimum age for Olympic athletes. Again. The age rules are defined very differently in the seven Olympic winter sports federations. It is no different among the summer sports federations. Age regulations sometimes differ even within these federations, depending on the sport, discipline, or gender. In the International Skating Union (ISU), a proposal to raise the minimum age in figure skating from fifteen to seventeen years failed most recently in June 2018. Of course, at the ISU congress at the time, the Russians also voted against this proposal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at its 2007 Session in Guatemala. Why are there these global competitions called YOG, when at the same time children participate in – how shall we say: real – Olympic Games? Why is there so little coordination? Why has not even the IOC, as the sole owner of these circus events, reminded us of these Youth Games in the bitter discussions of the past weeks?

Compromat. KGB. FSB. GRU. A brief intelligence overview of Vladimir Putin’s relationship with the IOC

KGB officer and former FSB boss Vladimir Putin and Vitaly Smirnov, honorary member of the IOC, honorary president of the ROC, organizer of the 1980 Games in Moscow – head of the so-called investigation committee on doping in Russia, and, of course, a former KGB spy. (Photo: Imago/Evgeny Biyatov)

Once again, a dubious institution, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has ruled in favour of the Russian doping system. Why is that? Why are the rules repeatedly bent in favour of the Russians? Why is Russian influence still so great after all the doping and corruption scandals?

The most important answer is, of course: Vladimir Putin and the oligarchs and Russian corporations in his thrall. You will find dozens, maybe even hundreds of articles on this in this theatre here. Two multi-billionaires, Alisher Usmanov and Vladimir Lissin, run the world Olympic federations in fencing (FIE) and shooting (ISSF). The millionaire Umar Kremlev is president of the World Boxing Federation (now IBA) and a member of the Putin-affiliated, nationalist motorbike rocker club Night Wolves. Russian corporations like Gazprom are also active and influential as the main sponsors of some international sports federations.

(You may know that it is risky just to mention the man of honour Alisher Usmanov. His lawyers are quite aggressive about it. Anyway, many other non-Russian current/former IOC members and IF presidents, always very close to Putin: René Fasel, Jean-Claude Killy, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Julio Maglione, Gianni Infantino, Lamine Diack and many more, most of them very dubious figures.)

Not to forget Roman Abramovich, who played a co-decisive role in the successful bid for the 2018 World Cup on Putin’s instructions. Of course, as in other nations (Qatar in particular, but also England, the USA and the Netherlands), this bid involved numerous intelligence agencies and some of the best-known spy firms on the planet (Kroll, for example).

So, another answer to the questions about Russia’s special Olympic role is: Compromat.

Compromised, possibly incriminating material. The classic, not only in Russia.

Putin and the IOC – a short intelligence review:

The IOC, the olympic family and the absolutely impeccable reputation of KGB/FSB agents

[caption id="attachment_26158" align="aligncenter" width="500"]vlad-vitaly KGB agents: Vladimir Putin and IOC honorary member Vitaly Smirnov – chair of a new „anti-doping commission“ and architect of the Soviet sports empire  (Photo: President of Russia)[/caption]

There are still astonishing deep links at the heart of the Olympic movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the secret services of the Soviet Union (KGB) and Russia (FSB). Even senior IOC members have told me repeatedly: the answers to many thrilling Olympic questions will be found in the Lubyanka archives. Additionally my Russian friends are telling me: it is all in the KGB files.

Will we ever get to know?

Recently we heard a lot about the major role of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the state-orchestrated doping scheme. According to Richard McLaren’s stunning report, the FSB agents responsible for the state-sponsored doping conspiracy were called „the magicians“.

Leseprobe „Macht, Moneten, Marionetten“: Liebesgrüße aus Moskau

Stellen wir uns Wladimir Putin als einen ganz normalen Menschen vor.

Nicht als einen Werwolf. Nicht als einen Kriegstreiber. Nicht als einen besonders üblen Demagogen. Nicht als einen Paria. Nicht als einen Mörder. Nicht als einen Diktator. Oder als was er sonst noch bezeichnet wird in diesen Tagen.

Natürlich hat dieser Putin, der Mensch, so seine Gefühle. Manchmal zeigt er sie sogar. Aber selten so offen wie für einige Minuten am 9. August 2013. An jenem Tag wurde Anatoli Rachlin beigesetzt. Rachlin war für Putin ein zweiter Vater. Er war mehr als sein Trainer, der ihm Sambo und Judo beibrachte. Rachlin war ein Berater für alle Fragen des Lebens. Er saß manchmal sogar mit am Tisch, wenn Putin die Führung des russischen Judoverbandes versammelte und kund tat, was getan werden müsse, wenn er den europäischen Verband versammelte und verkündete, was getan werden müsse, wenn er Bosse des Weltverbandes versammelte und erzählte, was man tun könne und solle. Rachlin hat Putin und dessen Schulfreunden, den Rotenberg-Brüdern Arkady und Boris, Disziplin vermittelt beim Sambo- und beim Judotraining. So hat es Putin oft erzählt. Vor laufenden Kameras hat er zu Rachlins Beisetzung geweint, nicht nur in Russland, in aller Welt wurde darüber diskutiert, was das bedeute. Dann ließ er sich filmen, wie er, übermannt von seinen Gefühlen und seinen Gedanken nachhängend, allein eine leere, weil abgesperrte St. Petersburger Straße entlang schlenderte.

Er kann einfach nicht aus seiner Haut. Er muss inszenieren.

Masters of the IOC universe: Putin, Gazprom, oligarchs and sheikhs

The so-called Olympic movement has showed a surprisingly strong interest in the first part of the report on the presidential race in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The acronym ABB seems to have electrified people. It stands for “Anyone But Bach” – referring to the clear favorite among the six contenders for the IOC Presidency, the German Thomas Bach.
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On April 21st this year, most senior IOC officials met in Tianjin, northern part of China. On this day, the „Juan Antonio Samaranch Memorial Museum“ was opened, planned by the architect Ching-Kuo Wuo (Taiwan), another one of the six presidential candidates. At this occasion a conspiratorial-sounding abbreviation was used for the first time. ABT: „Anything but Thomas“. Sometime in May it changed to ABB.

Of course, the five challengers of Thomas Bach discreetly promote the ABB story among their peers. But one of them, Ser Miang Ng from Singapore, currently thought to be number two or three in the presidential race, now argues more offensively with a historical fact:

There have been eight presidents in IOC history. Seven from Europe, one from the U.S. – but none from the biggest and most populous continent. None from Asia.

So perhaps the ABB will be replaced by an ABE: From anywhere but Europe?

Kinder unter der Last der Ringe

Am Tag danach präsentierte sich das IOC-Völkchen entspannt. Die wichtigste Arbeit auf der 119. Session des Internationalen Komitees war mit der Kür von Sotschi zur Winterolympiastadt 2014 erledigt. Und dies vor allem dank des tatkräftigen Einsatzes des IOC-Ehrenpräsidenten Juan Antonio Samaranch, worüber noch zu reden sein wird. Als die einen also noch die Wunden behandelten (Salzburg und Pyeongchang), die anderen den Kater nach der Siegerparty bekämpften, ging das IOC zur Tagesordnung über.

Zunächst wurde in einer Blockabstimmung eine mammutmäßig große Liste von Mitgliedern im Amt bestätigt. Gemäß den Regeländerungen auf der Krisensession im Dezember 1999 mussten sich nach acht Jahren 27 persönliche Mitglieder, darunter der Deutsche Walther Tröger, wiederwählen lassen. Tröger aber nur für zwei Jahre, weil er dann wegen der Altersbegrenzung mit Vollendung seines achten Lebensjahrzehnts ausscheiden muss. Auch Präsident Jacques Rogge stand auf der Liste, weshalb theoretisch die Möglichkeit bestanden hätte, ihn zwei Jahre vor Ende seiner achtjährigen Amtsperiode abzuwählen.