Is It Time To Go To The Bar? Weightlifting, which has been contaminated by doping, is facing an Olympic ban.
Following decades marred by corruption and doping scandals, weightlifting faces a fight for its Olympic future at the Tokyo Games.
It was one of the inaugural sports at the first modern Olympics in 1896, and it was a pure strength and technique event, exemplifying the Olympic motto of “Citius, Altius, Fortius” – “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
However, 125 years later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has frequently warned the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) that the sport’s Olympic status is on a knife’s edge.
Weightlifting absolutely needs a clean Games to preserve it from extinction, but even that may not be enough.
“The situation is growing increasingly dire,” IOC President Thomas Bach said at the end of February.
“The executive committee is extremely concerned about the lack of meaningful improvements within the IWF in terms of management and culture,” Bach added.
“Despite all of our cautions, the IWF has refused many requests for changes.”
According to an AFP count, the IOC’s patience has almost run out for a sport that has witnessed 110 drug infractions at the Olympics, more than a fifth of the total ever recorded across all sports, and 49 athletes deprived of their medals.
Weightlifting modified all of its bodyweight categories following the 1992 Barcelona Games to set new “clean” records in order to separate itself from doping.
Regrettably, the practice had to be repeated in 1998 and again following the 2018 Asian Games.
“If these issues are not addressed satisfactorily and promptly, the IOC executive committee will be forced to reconsider the presence of weightlifting on the Paris 2024 and future Olympic Games programs.”
In January 2020, German TV channel ARD aired an explosive documentary that exposed what it called the sport’s “culture of corruption.”
It claimed that high-level athletes had been permitted to avoid doping controls and had their negative test results changed in exchange for money.
Before retiring, Tamas Ajan, the IWF’s long-serving Hungarian president, dismissed the allegations as “lies.”
Five months later, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren delivered a damning report exposing the IWF’s and ex-boss Ajan’s cover-up of 40 adverse doping controls.
The IOC ordered the IWF to adopt broad reforms, and it held a one-day congress last month to try to ratify a new constitution, but the meeting ended in a deadlock.
According to reports, the IWF will meet again. Brief News from Washington Newsday.