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From doping to demonstrations to dirty officials, the Olympics have never had their share of the scandals and off-field controversies that keep the Games in the headlines long after the torch goes out.
The five-year gap since the last Summer Olympics has been no different.
A quick look at some of the most notable news about the Olympic world since it last gathered for the Summer Games.
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Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of hundreds of gymnasts in the US opened a window into a violent culture that permeates the sport and every corner of the world.
Since Rio, the US Safesport Center has been opened to investigate complaints of abuse in sports.
It took decision-making on these matters out of the hands of organizations like USA Gymnastics, which for years had been forced to pit members (gymnasts) against members (coaches) as abuse allegations surfaced.
Other allegations of abuse in taekwondo, water polo, and figure skating came to light in the United States, among other places, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee rewrote its own statutes to prioritize, in part, the mental and physical well-being of its athletes instead. of the pursuit of Olympic medals.
In Rio, the IOC rejected a recommendation by the World Anti-Doping Agency to ban all Russian participants from the Olympics as punishment for a massive doping plan the country had devised to help its athletes doping without getting caught.
As a result, about 270 Russians were allowed to participate in 2016.
Possibly encouraged by the IOC’s move, Russia continued to cover up its misdeeds.
In 2019, WADA investigators determined that Russia had manipulated 23 gigabytes of data that could have been used to prosecute cases related to the original deception.
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WADA proposed a four-year ban that severely restricted Russians from joining, but the Court of Arbitration for Sports watered it down.
The end result: Some 335 Russian athletes will compete in Tokyo, although they will not wear team uniforms and not under the Russian flag.
They will officially participate as members of the “ROC” – Russian Olympic Committee.
Only 10 of those athletes will be in the field; That sport’s governing body, whose former leaders facilitated some of the deception (see below), has since taken a much tougher stance on the Russia case than most.
A spotlight has been shined on anti-doping rules urging athletes to report their whereabouts so they can be subjected to tests without notice.
Reigning Olympic champions Christian Coleman and Brianna McNeal and world champion Salwa Eid Naser are among those to miss the Olympics after being suspended for violations of this rule.
And just weeks before the start of the Olympics, US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s ban on a positive marijuana test fueled a debate about whether that drug — not considered a performance-enhancing drug and now legal in some parts of the world world – should be banned no more.
Three of the weightlifting’s longtime leaders were charged with a number of offenses for a decade of doping and other crimes.
The misconduct included 146 unresolved doping cases from 2009 to 2019.
The president of the international federation, Tamas Ajan, was impeached after a German documentary exposed the atrocities.
Weightlifting status for 2024 is in jeopardy; the IOC calls for reforms and wants to see the sport cleaned up.
A summer of turmoil and activism in the United States in 2020 forced the IOC and USOPC to consider their policies on demonstrations at the Olympics.
The USOPC has decided after months of meetings and negotiations that it would not punish its athletes for violating Rule 50, which has long banned protests and demonstrations within the lines.
Although the IOC has recently relaxed the rule to allow some forms of demonstration at the starting line, the ban on the medal podium remains, which could cause conflict at the Olympics.
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The IOC has stripped the International Boxing Association of Olympic status in the wake of an investigation in which the US Treasury Department accused the organization’s president of involvement in drug production and heroin trafficking.
Influential Kuwaiti IOC member Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah awaits trial on charges of forgery in connection with an alleged coup attempt.
The former president of the job’s governing body, Lamine Diack, and other top officials were found guilty of corruption for covering up Russia’s doping scandal in exchange for bribes.
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Swimming’s international federation (FINA) has come under scrutiny for a number of reasons, including choosing a leader named as an uncharged co-conspirator in a bribery case involving football’s top executives.
FINA was also criticized for failing to crack down on Chinese Olympic champion Sun Yang, whose own doping/testing case has been roaming the sports justice system for years; Yang misses Tokyo, but is eligible for the Paris Games in 2024.
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