Doping, Dopes, and Downturns

The International Olympic Committee meets in full for the first time since the Beijing Games starting Wednesday is Lausanne, Switzerland, and there are a few tiny matters on the agenda.

Word out of London is that the Olympic Delivery Authority, the government body in charge of the infrastructure and venues for 2012 , is encountering some tough sledding in the current economic climate. Private financing for the planned  £900million athletes’ village has failed to materialize. (Sound familiar Vancouver?) The ODA has already taken £95million from the Games’ £1 billion contingency fund to help bridge the gap,  but John Armitt, its chairman, today admitted to a Parliamentary committee that he is already contemplating a much larger raid in the spring. Meanwhile, London mayor Boris Johnson’s senior Olympic adviser has been forced to step down. It seems, David Ross, the founder of the distinctly un-British sounding Carphone Warehouse empire, had mortgaged all the shares he owns—now worth £200million—to guarantee some personal loans, but somehow forgot to tell regulators.

But the financing of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, where all the venues and much of the infrastructure must be built from scratch, is said to be an even a bigger concern. At a town hall meeting last week (or as this Russian website delightfully describes it, “his annual TV question-and-answer intercourse with the nation“) Russian PM Vladimir Putin poo-pooed such worries. And if this guy still has the resources to try and turn fencing into a big money sport, perhaps Russia is faring better than the rest of the world.

Also on the IOC dance card this week, is doping. On Thursday, officials will rule on three positive tests  that are still hanging around from Beijing. The silver and bronze medal winners in the hammer throw , Belarusians Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan, tested positive for abnormal levels of testosterone after the Aug. 17 final. The fourth place finisher in the K2-1000 m canoe race, Adam Seroczynski of Poland, also tested positive for the steroid clenbuterol.

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