What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
If you’ve been following the Winter Olympics, you might know the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banished the Russian Olympic Federation (ROF) from competing in the PyeongChang games. But, in a bit of logic rivaling that of the NCAA, the IOC decided that Russian athletes who passed drug testing could participate under the neutral moniker of “Olympic Athlete From Russia.” The excuse they gave for this exemption is “fairness to those not breaking the rules,” but the real reason is kicking all Russians out of the Winter Olympics would be like having college football without the Southeastern Conference. As one of the ;largest contingents in the games, nobody wanted repeats of the 1980 and 1984 Summer Games which were boycotted by United States and the Soviet Union respectively.
Anyone care to guess what happened?
Aleksandr Krushelnitsky, an Olympic curler from Russia, left the Pyeongchang Winter Games on Sunday after a positive preliminary test for the banned substance meldonium. Krushelnitsky won a bronze medal last week with his wife and teammate Anastasia Bryzgalova in mixed-doubles curling, an event making its debut this year in Pyeongchang. The medal was also Russia’s first in curling.
OK, Russia…this is why you can’t have nice things. I’m not even going to get into whether this what this guy was doing was sponsored by the ROF. The point here is this guy got caught using something the whole world knows they have a test for…which means he’s an idiot. That will become crystal clear as we walk through this.
…Krushelnitsky tested positive for meldonium, a heart drug that was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016 because of its role in boosting endurance, in what’s called an “A” sample. On Monday, officials tested the “B” sample, and hours later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport formally opened an investigation into Krushelnitsky. If meldonium sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same drug that got Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova suspended from the International Tennis Federation.
How this all got started is the IOC banished the ROF for a wide-spread doping issue at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. That’s why the 169 Russian athletes who tested clean at this year’s games were allowed to compete under the Olympic flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” The IOC had also made mention these athletes might be allowed to march under the Russian flag during the closing ceremonies.
That got killed thanks to Krushelnitsky’s stupidity.
Now, I’m not saying this was stupid because he was breaking the rules. Be it the Olympics or any other major sports endeavor, the bottom line is EVERYBODY cheats…EVERYBODY. If you doubt that, just look at what is happening today in college basketball. Let’s strip off all the pretense; no matter the game, cheating is part of it. The better at it you are, the better off you are. Having said that, there’s an old saying in poker which states you never raise once you’re bluff has been called.
That’s exactly what Krushelnitsky did.
If you don’t like that analogy, let’s try something which is also illegal but we’ve all done…drunk driving. Every one of us has driven home after the proverbial “one too many” happy hour; don’t try to deny it. Here’s how it works.
Once you get popped for you first DUI, it’s just plain silliness to think the cops don’t know who you are. That means the next time you get pulled over for having a tail-light out or whatever, when they run your license, they know you have a “Milwaukee misdemeanor” on your record, and they are going to linger around your window just a bit longer to see if you give off a whiff of the old John Barleycorn.
Another reason the analogy works is in the aforementioned reality…whether it’s drunk driving or blood-doping, everybody does it. Whenever the cops do one of their “crackdowns” on the Darryl Drunkenslobs of the world, all they have to do is hang out by a TGI Friday’s at the end of happy hour. Just like drunks flow out of shitty chain bar-grills at 8 p.m. on a Friday night, ice is the only substance more prevalent at the Winter Olympics than performance enhancing drugs. In other words, the cops can’t bust every Darryl Drunkenslob, and the IOC can’t catch every Svetlana Steroidokova because in either case, there’s simply too many of them.
It’s simple mathematics. The vast majority of drug-cheating athletes get away with it because there are literally hundreds of banned substances and not enough resources to screen everyone for everything. On top of that, it is a safe assumption there are laboratories somewhere cranking out some sort of North Korean horse testicle serum nobody knows about yet.
Therein lies the stupidity of Aleksandr Krushelnitsky. If you win an event and you are from a country plumbed with hot and cold running banned substances whose national Olympic federation got the ultimate blow-off from the IOC, at some point you have to expect somebody is going to ask you to pee into a cup. Not only should you know you’re headed for the IOC version of a “sobriety checkpoint,” you probably shouldn’t be chock-full of meldonium; the single-most well-known banned substance on the fucking planet…thanks to a tennis player from your very own country.
After all that, oddly enough it isn’t Krushelnitsky’s dopiness about doping that gives us the “make your brain explode” moment. That comes from the following excerpt.
For curling, a sport that requires sliding a heavy stone and aggressively sweeping ice in front of it to direct its motion, doping could yield an advantage, especially in the doubles version of the event, where team members sweep more than they would on a larger team.
“To have that quick recovery and to be able to sweep again and again and again, it could definitely benefit you,” Canadian curler Marc Kennedy told the Washington Post.
Now, I love curling. You love curling. Mr. T loves curling. Everybody loves curling. BUT ITS FUCKING CURLING! The beauty of curling is that is requires almost no athleticism. Don’t get me wrong, it involves tremendous skill. I lived in Minnesota for 15 years, and I’m very familiar with curling. I can’t do it because I have knees held together with Scotch Tape and the power of positive thinking. Despite that, I know one important fact. Curlers aren’t figure skaters or cross-country skiers with a lower body fat content than 2% milk.
Look at those guys. This is the U.S. Team who 24 hours ago captured America’s first gold medal in men’s curling. There’s no meldonium in those dudes; being good “up north” guys from Minnesota and Wisconsin, there’s simply no room for doping in blood comprised largely of cheeseburgers and Pabst Blue Ribbon…and that’s why they’re awesome.
So, this all begs the question…What’s next? I can’t wait for a doping scandal to embroil the World Series of Poker.
P.S. At least Alexander Krushelnitsky married well.