OLYMPIC BROADCASTER - Canadian Sportscaster Brian Williams was in Red Deer speaking to a crowd of 900 people from Farm Credit Canada. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Olympic sportscaster Brian Williams says IOC too lenient on Russians

Williams was in Red Deer for a speech for Farm Credit Canada

World-renowned Canadian sportscaster Brian Williams, who covered 14 Olympic games between both CBC and CTV/TSN, said that he was disappointed with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to allow some Russian athletes to compete as neutrals in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Russia, as reported, was banned from Pyeongchang after an investigation by the World Anti-doping Agency into state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Russian athletes who haven’t tested positive for doping, however, will be able to compete as neutrals without the use of their national flag or anthem under strict guidelines.

Williams, who was in Red Deer speaking at a paid event for Farm Credit Canada, said before his speech to the Red Deer Express this ruling is equivalent to allowing Russia to compete anyway.

“This is state-supported doping. This would be no different than if the Canadian Prime Minister, if Canada was caught cheating ‘en masse’ in Vancouver, used the Mounties to change urine samples and intimidate people,” he said.

He added the fact that former IOC member and Russian Minister of Sport Alexander Zhukov’s lifetime ban from the Olympics suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely knew of the widespread doping among Russian Olympic athletes.

“When it is the Minister of Sport, don’t tell me that the highest level of government didn’t know what he was doing. This was state-supported,” he said.

Williams said due to this scandal, no Russian athlete should have been allowed to compete in Pyeongchang.

“People say to me, ‘If they kick them all out, what about the innocent athletes?’. I’m sorry but it is their country and their fellow athletes that let them down.”

Williams added he recently spoke with former Canadian IOC member and Montreal Lawyer Dick Pound, who said it was important for the IOC not to give Putin a back door. In this instance, Williams believes they have.

“They aren’t letting Russia compete in uniform but they are going to get more attention without the Russian flag. When they come in under the Olympic flag and play the Olympic anthem, everyone is going to know it is the Russians,” he said.

He added he believes the IOC started in the right direction with sanctions against Russia, however they didn’t go far enough.

“Sochi happened because the Russians did not do well in Vancouver. They were hosting four years down the road and wanted to make sure they did well and they did win the most medals, but many of them were dishonest medals.

“If that isn’t enough to kick them out, I don’t know what else is,” he said.

The Russian scandal is the latest in difficulties for Pyeongchang after the NHL decided not to send athletes and the fact that tensions have risen between North Korea and the west. Williams feels the Olympics will be a success, despite the international controversy.

“I feel bad for the South Koreans in many ways because they paid all this money to get the Olympics and the facilities, but then they get some body blows,” he said. “The NHL is not going, then this Russian story and when they got the rights, the tension between North Korea and the west — particularly the United States — was not at the level it is today.

“They have taken some blows but I am sure the Olympics will be fine, they always rise above it.”

He added the reason they will succeed is because the Olympic Games is about the best athletes in the world.

“As I always say, the Olympics are about the athletes and not the fat cats that run it,” he said.

Just Posted

Lacombe Market vendor supporting family who lost their home

Lyndall Cave will be selling jewellery until the end of August

Lacombe Composite’s Ecovision Club, Friends of the Greenhouse preparing for successful harvest

LCHS students and community members keep programs growing throughout summer

Red Deer- Lacombe MP disapointed by Liberals blocking hearings on SNC-Lavalin affair ethics report

MP Calkins said Canadians will pass a verdict over the affair during the upcoming election

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Calkins comments on CPC promise to make maternity benefits tax free

Tax credit would remove federal income tax from EI maternity and EI parental benefits

WATCH: Lacombe Days parade rolls through city

Hundreds turn out for annual tradition

Red Deer Rebels Training Camp begins Aug. 24

Rebels home opener will be on Sept. 21 against the Edmonton Oil Kings

UPDATED: Search continues for possible drowning on Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake RCMP and Fire Department continue their search for 20-something adult male

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

On vaccines, abortion, Goop, doctor Jen Gunter says: ‘I have a duty to speak up’

She speaks out on menstruation, the wellness industry and vaccines

RCMP and fire departments respond to possible drowning on Sylvan Lake

RCMP say they are actively searching for a man in his 20s with boats on the lake

Most Read