This ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ ban is a load of crap

With Russia “banned” from the Olympics the folks International Olympic Committee did the compassionate thing and allowed some athletes from Russia to compete at the 2018 Winter Games, but with no Russia apparel of branding, instead labeling them as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

But the whole OAR thing is a load of crap if you’ve watched any of the Olympics this year. It’s not even a ban, it’s just calling them Russians by a different name.

You watch any event with an OAR (shoutout to the shitty band OAR for accidentally being relevant through the Olympics), and while the athletes themselves aren’t wearing anything Russian, the fans in the stands are, and you’d never know there was a ban. An OAR does something good in any event, and the camera cuts to a shot in the crowd of a bunch of Russians going crazy for their athlete, waving Russian flags and scarves.

And it’s even bigger if they win. It’s not like if when the return home that national leaders, papers, and people in their hometowns won’t celebrate if they win a medal if they’re under the OAR tag. They’ll still call them a Russian Olympic medalist, same as they would if they won it while wearing Russia’s red, white, and blue, or the OAR red and white. It’s a farce.

If you’re going to ban Russia from competing, go all the way. No Russian flags, shirts, scarves, whatever, and that includes the fans bring them in. The announcers call them Russians, or describe their routine or style as “very Russian”, it’s not a ban at all.

It would be like the NHL “banning” the Detroit Red Wings, then allowing them to play the season as the Wings of Red from Detroit. It’s the same thing. If Russia was going to cheat like they did (and everyone cheats btw, it’s just how much and who gets caught), fully ban them and don’t let anyone from Russia compete, clean or not, under the OAR tag or some other name.

Is that harsh? Yes, but how else are you going to prove a point and make people think that cheating isn’t worth it? Slapping them on the wrist and calling them something else, that still has Russia in the name, isn’t the way to go about it.

It’s insanely weird to watch a broadcast where the announcers pretend Russia is “banned” and not at the games, but all the while there is still tons of Russian coverage, signage, and fandom.

 

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