Speaking of drugs, why don’t we investigate the Olympics?
Why didn’t the Australian Crime Commission investigate doping in Olympic sports as well as “the big five”, rugby league, rugby union, AFL, cricket and soccer?
The Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport report released yesterday noted how professional Aussie sport was “highly vulnerable to organised crime infiltration through legitimate business relationships with sports franchises and other associations”.
But nowhere in the report were the Olympics even mentioned. The report examined case studies involving Rugby League and the AFL. And yesterday’s press conference extended to Rugby Union, league, AFL, cricket and soccer. The report mentioned how sport had become a highly profitable exercise at global and international levels. According to ABS statistics from 2006, sport generates $8.82 billion per year.
An Olympic victory brings about $49 million per gold medal, according to research by Dr James Connor, sports researcher for UNSW.
And that figure doesn’t even include the various sponsorship deals that winning gold brings with it.
So surely the incentive to perform at maximum capacity is pretty high. And the temptation to dope increases 10 fold.
But despite this, there was no mention of whether Aussie doping was a concern in Olympic sports. The report made little effort to find out how drugs are transported, supplied or paid for in Olympic sport.
What sports event is more lucrative than the Olympics? Countries from all over the world compete for international sporting glory.
AOC President John Coates is calling for the ACC to investigate doping in sport.
“Olympic sports would be naive to think their sport is immune from the scourge of doping and illegal betting,” he said yesterday in a statement.
“I urge our member sports to get involved with the other codes.”
The argument against investigating doping in Olympic sports is due largely to the belief that it has such a rigorous testing scheme. Much more so than some other domestic professional sports.
We used to say that about cycling. Until recently it was thought that the rigorous testing during the Tour De France had wiped out doping. Oh, how we were wrong about that.
And while we sit and watch the TV with a pack of potato crisps, bitching about which gymnast looks 14 but claims to be 21, and which weight lifter is clearly on “the ‘roids”, we reinforce the myth that Australia is clean of doping, and has been since the early 90s.
Because we’re supposedly better than that.
But if there’s anything yesterday’s report has proven, is that doping is as rife in Aussie sport as the Tour De France.
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