IOC president Thomas Bach at this week's executive board meetings // photo IOC

IOC president Thomas Bach at this week's executive board meetings // photo IOC

IOC

Where is the joy?

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — To use a favorite saying of Thomas Bach’s, the International Olympic Committee president, the IOC’s policy-making executive board and Bach himself did a great job — over three days of meetings that wrapped up Thursday — of talking the talk.

Amid corruption and doping scandals in, respectively, soccer and track and field, the IOC board and president talked up the import of maintaining — if not restoring — the credibility of international sport.

IOC president Thomas Bach in New York in October with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon // photo IOC

IOC president Thomas Bach in New York in October with UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon // photo IOC

2024 Bid Cities

Hamburg vote makes plain Olympic brand crisis

Hamburg’s 2024 Olympic bid went down Sunday to devastating defeat in a referendum, a result that is — no reason to mince words — bad, just very, very bad, for the International Olympic Committee and, especially, IOC president Thomas Bach.

Even with all kinds of external factors weighing on the vote — the Paris attacks, a scandal involving Germany’s winning 2006 World Cup soccer bid, the refugee crisis in Germany and across Europe, and more — the vote marks a sharp repudiation of the IOC’s Agenda 2020 would-be reform plan and, indeed, Bach’s leadership, both substance and style.

US Biathlon's Max Cobb

US Biathlon's Max Cobb

Doping

Let the Russians clean up themselves? No way

A first read of the communiqué issued over the weekend by the International Olympic Committee after president Thomas Bach’s urgently taken meeting with Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov might well prompt the response, “Atlichna.” That’s Russian for “excellent.”

Indeed, in the statement, the IOC quotes Zhukov this way: “The Russian Olympic Committee is determined that the clean athletes should compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Anyone found guilty of using illegal drugs or anyone who facilitated or was complicit in their use must be punished.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this week in Sochi with sports minister  Vitaly Mutko // Getty Images

Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier this week in Sochi with sports minister Vitaly Mutko // Getty Images

Track and field

A historic “road map” for Russia?

Track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, did what it had to do Friday in provisionally suspending Russia after shocking revelations of systemic, perhaps state-sponsored, doping.

The IAAF action followed by a few hours a step taken by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel. It, too, did what it had to do. Among other things, it found Russia non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The WADA-appointed three-member Independent Commission upon the release of the report Monday in Geneva: Canadian lawyer and professor Richard McLaren, former WADA  president Richard Pound and German law enforcement official Guenter Younger // photo Getty Images

The WADA-appointed three-member Independent Commission upon the release of the report Monday in Geneva: Canadian lawyer and professor Richard McLaren, former WADA president Richard Pound and German law enforcement official Guenter Younger // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Who knew what, when? And what is to be done?

The World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report that shines a long-overdue spotlight on Russian doping in track and field begs a question in Russian history. As Lenin himself wrote in the famous pamphlet published in 1902: what is to be done?

At the same time, and though the report, released Monday, has little to nothing to do with the United States, a bit of political history from the American archives is worth noting, too. From the Watergate years: who knew what, and when?