Thursday, February 27, 2014

You can't spell idiocy without an I, an O and a C!!

As we clean out our folder of items that may or may not have been possible entries for the blog, we have one final thought on the recently completed Olympic games of Sochi.

One item that we've been tossing around in our mind, cobbling snippets of type together and finally found a theme that will work, the IOC and the gulf of common sense between those in charge of the games and the rest of us mere mortals who participate, or in the case of the home viewer, spend the better part of ten days watching.

We speak to the topic of the surprise announcement on Sunday, of the banishment of Nicklas Backstrom from the Gold Medal game. A bizarre situation that still leaves one shaking a head at the logic and machinations of the governing body of the Olympic games the IOC.

Should the Olympic games ever collapse from their own weight of self-righteous excess. A bulk of the responsibility for it will fall on the shoulders of the seemingly unaccountable bureaucrats and pretend princes and princesses of the International Olympic Committee.

A group that seems to make the rules up at times, as they go along. And take no counsel from those that suggest that they may not quite have it all right.

Sweden perhaps offering up the best example of draconian regulation that offers no reason, nor option for appeal when required the most.

While the Swedes no doubt do not need a refresher on events, for the rest of us, the basic thumbnail sketch of the events leading to Backstrom's banishment came from his use of an allergy medicine, something he has been taking for over the last seven years.

The IIHF's medical officer called Backstrom a victim of circumstances, that this wasn't in his opinion a matter of doping and more to the point of concern for the Swedish team, the timing and nature of the notification was questionable.

It's to that theme that the IOC has the most to answer for, no one argues the need to provide for a clean sport. Canadians more than the residents of most countries understand the concept and have been among the most studious when it comes to enforcement and tracking of athletes.

However, an allergy medicine hardly seems the thing of anabolic steroids, if anything, as most of us have noticed when battling our own allergies, it's more of a case of facing the day rather than seeking some kind of jump ahead of the guy or gal next to you.

As for the timing of the testing and the announcement of results, to wait until shortly before puck drop on the most important game of your showcase event to announce a banishment, doesn't do much for you grand finale.

It does play the political game quite nicely as the Swedes observed, sending the final message and setting the stage we imagine for the next four years.

But as far as in fairness to the athletes, the teams involved and the game itself, the whole process was bush league at best.

Considering Backstrom had been with his team through the week, we imagine that the results were available well before the puck was to be dropped in the Gold Medal game. So to remove a player of such high calibre just before the game is to start, is not only wrong, but is disruptive to a team when they need nothing but focus.

As the gold medal game turned out, we suspect that even with Backstrom and every other injured or unavailable Swede added to the lineup, the result would have still be the same.

Such was the focus of Team Canada on Gold Medal Sunday.

However, to have the Swedes tournament end as it did. With a cloud of suspicion that really wasn't as ominous as originally hinted, was wrong and falls squarely on the shoulders of the over bearing bureaucrats of the IOC.

The Swedish team, Backstrom and the fans of both, deserved much better from the IOC, better testing information and a much more respectful timeline of decision.

The NHL has still to announce its intention for the 2018 games, and while most in North American and Europe too we imagine, would like to see the best available players to make the trip to Korea. The mysterious events and procedures such as those of the final few days of Sochi, give the NHL much to consider.

If the NHL decides to take a pass on future Olympic games, it most likely will be for their own particular reasons.

However, when you see the IOC go out of their way to make a mess of a fairly well run tournament, and treat those that participate with arrogance, you have to wonder if the NHL will have to come up with much of an excuse.

National Post-- Nicklas Backstrom suspension a sad way to end Games
National Post-- Sweden irate over IOC's suspension of Nicklas Backstrom
Globe and Mail-- Sweden's Backstrom misses Olympic final due to positive drug test
Reuters-- Ice hockey officials slam IOC over Backstrom doping test
Toropnto Sun-- Sweden furious over Nicklas Backstrom doping ban
NBC Sports-- Swedish coach 'furious' about Backstrom ban, claims IOC 'made things up'
Eurohockey-- Swedes, NHLPA blast IOC over Backstrom ban from gold medal match with Canada
CBC-- Sweden's Nicklas Backstrom tests positive for banned substance
TSN-- Sweden's Backstrom tests positive for banned substance
Sporting News-- Nicklas Backstrom's banned allergy medicine 'destroyed" Sweden
ESPN-- Backstrom victim of drug testing debacle

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