Psst, Wanna Buy An Olympics?

Another day, another Olympic corruption scandal. The latest one involves a guy already serving a 200-year prison sentence for fraud and corruption, former Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral, who "testified on Thursday that as many as nine International Olympic Committee members had been paid off to bring the Summer Games to Rio in 2016." (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/05/sports/2016-olympics-rio-bribery.html)

This is on the heels of a developing vote-for-sale scandal involving the next Summer Olympics, in Tokyo in 2020. Already the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, who was also a full IOC member, chairman of their marketing commission, and a former Olympic equestrian himself, has had to quit these posts after it was revealed that in December in France he was indicted "as part of a criminal investigation into the awarding of the games". (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/business/japan-olympics-bribery-corruption.html)  

The combat sports of boxing and wrestling are also among the worst in terms of being accused of corruption. 

Even the IOC has had to suspend its recognition of the boxing federation, AIBA, due to multiple scandals, including its selection of its now-former president, Gafur Rakhimov, who is accused of being one of Uzbekistan's "leading criminals" with "links to the heroin trade" by the U.S. Treasury.

(https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/mar/22/gafur-rakhimov-to-stand-down-as-aiba-president-during-investigation)

Boxing had its allegations of match-fixing at the Rio 2016 Olympics, most notably in the infamous Michael Conlan-Vladimir Nikitin fight, among others. 

(https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/rio-report-claims-michael-conlan-s-2016-olympic-fight-was-fixed-1.3422913)

Wrestling was in the same category, most visibly during a match between Mandakhnaran Ganzorig of Mongolia and Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan

As time expired, the official scoreboard had Ganzorig winning 7-6. But in Olympic wrestling, it really ain't over when it IS over, as the referee started adding points for Navruzov, who was then declared the winner. The Mongolian coaches were furious, and two of them in protest stripped down to their underwear. 

(https://slate.com/culture/2016/08/the-olympics-wrestling-controversy-that-led-a-mongolian-coach-to-remove-his-pants.html)

The referee was using a set of rules instituted in 2013 after the debacle that had wrestling temporarily dumped from the Olympic program. The previous rules were mostly incomprehensible, but did not allow the refs to just start handing out points like this in order to avoid or at least cut down on biased officiating. These new rules were put in place by the regime that took over Olympic wrestling in 2013, led by Nenad Lalovic of Serbia and Mikhail Mamiashvili, who is head of the Russian Wrestling Federation.

You can read more about Mamiashvili here:

"Alleged gangster re-elected as president of the Russian Wrestling Federation"

(https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2016/11/16/13650640/alleged-gangster-re-elected-as-president-of-the-russian-wrestling-federation).

At the Rio Olympics, Mamiashvili was accused of twice slapping Russian female wrestler Inna Trazhukova after she lost a bronze medal match. 

(https://thebiglead.com/2016/08/19/russias-head-of-wrestling-punched-female-wrestler-in-face-for-losing-bronze-medal-match/)

In 2015, even though he is president of the Russian Wrestling Federation, a vice president of the Olympic wrestling federation UWW, and a former Olympic champion himself, he was denied a visa to enter the U.S. to attend the wrestling world championships in Las Vegas.

(https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1029954/russian-wrestling-federation-president-to-miss-world-championships-after-refused-visa-by-united-states)

Despite all of this, Mamiashvili still remains in all of his positions in wrestling.

While corruption in Olympic and international wrestling is far from new, all of this took place during the time that Lalovic, who had never wrestled himself, has been UWW president. Lalovic has also been elevated to becoming a full member of the IOC and later its executive board.

In the "you can't make this stuff up" department, Lalovic, the head of the scandal-plagued wrestling outfit, was named by the IOC to head the task force to look into corruption in AIBA. (https://www.skysports.com/boxing/news/12183/11749216/international-olympic-committee-suspends-aiba-from-tokyo-2020)

While there are far more scandals that could be cited, this is the type of governance we are getting from the IOC and especially from its boxing and wrestling federations. 

Is there any doubt, then, that all those who stand for integrity in world sport should have nothing to do with the IOC, its international federations, and the various national federations of each sport? City after city around the world has rejected staging this criminal enterprise in their areas. Hopefully the people of Paris, which was awarded the 2024 Summer Games, and Los Angeles, which was awarded the 2028 Summer Games, can purge this plague from their cities before it is too late. 

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