Today, Russian athletes hoping to take part in the Rio 2016 Paralympics have been banned following the doping scandal in Russia. It’ll be tough on those — a small minority? — most of them? — who haven’t been taking drugs, but it will be a strong message to ordinary Russians that normal feelings about fair play are still important in the outside world.
This is in complete contrast to the confused way that the International Olympic Committee dealt with the non-handicapped athletes. Yes, the track and field competitors remain outlawed, but all the rest were allowed back in again whatever their past records.
It’s really an unintended confession that doping will never be fully wiped out for reasons of either individual earnings for top performers or national pride. Or will the great jamboree fall out of favour first? It is certainly very curious that, apart from the small minority who actually take part, most young people seem to be increasingly indifferent to sport.