WashU Expert: Russia’s doping scandal​​

​Investigation's findings could have Olympic ramifications

WashU Expert: Patrick Rishe discusses the doping scandal involving Russia’s track and field athletes, and what it could mean to the Olympics next year.

It’s another far-reaching global sporting scandal: On Nov. 9, the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspend Russia from athletics competition in the wake of its findings regarding that country’s ongoing cover-ups of positive performance-enhancing drug tests in its track and field athletes.

Rishe

“I don’t claim to be an expert in the various advances in testing methods and procedures. But when you consider the Ben Johnsons and the Marion Joneses of the world, you realize that doping scandals have been part of the recent past with respect to track and field,” said Patrick Rishe, PhD and director of the Olin Business of Sports Program.

The findings were presented in Geneva, Switzerland. For an international sporting scene still reeling from FIFA fallout this summer, it’s another embarrassment that could have ramifications of Olympic proportions: the ruling could keep Russian athletes out of Rio de Janeiro next year.

“What this shows is that when you have these organizations, individuals, or processes which receive little external checks-and-balances, opportunities arise for corruption,” Rishe said. “FIFA has proved this to be true. The world of cycling has suffered from this stigma mightily. So too again will track and field.

“Over the long run, one wonders how this will impact ratings and sponsorship of Olympic Games. Because if the public’s confidence in the legitimacy of the outcomes is frayed, their interest will wane … and with fewer eyeballs, corporations will be less bullish on sponsorship investments,” Rishe said.

To speak with Rishe, contact Erika Ebsworth-Goold at 314-935-2914 or email eebsworth-goold@wustl.edu.

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