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Just A Reminder That Pat Hickey Was An Influential Defender Of The Russian Olympic Team

Just A Reminder That Pat Hickey Was An Influential Defender Of The Russian Olympic Team
By Conor Neville Updated

The Russians are currently enjoying a remarkable run of luck in the boxing ring and we can only marvel at their good fortune. Sometimes, the Gods just smile on you.

On Monday , a Russian fighter by the name of Evgeny Tishchenko was beaten around the ring by Kazakhstan fighter called Vasiliy Levit in the Olympic final in the heavyweight division.

Unfortunately, the impoverished Kazakhs are suffering a right bad run of luck, much like ourselves, and the judges awarded the fight to the Russian.

The somewhat shame-faced Mr. Tishchenko was duly showered in boos as he stuck his hand up in the air. Tough on the poor lad. He hadn't scored the fight himself. He had merely functioned as a punch-bag for three rounds.

These judges evidently have rhinoceros hides where their skin used to be and they no doubt will brazen it out. Incidentally, one of the aforementioned judges is Tyrone man Michael Gallagher, a 5 star rated referee and the AIBA ref + judge of the year in 2011 and 2012.

Today, as we know, the Russians enjoyed another fair slice of good fortune. Michael Conlan's opponent Vladimir Nikitin, a new Olympic medalist, had enough cheek to let out a roar of celebration at the end of his fight.

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The Russians may not be enjoying this very public and contentious run of good fortune had doping agencies in both the US and Canada gotten their way this summer.

The earlier controversy related to doping rather than their uncanny ability to find favour with boxing judges.

For those who don't recall, a report was compiled by a Canadian lawyer called Richard McLaren investigating state sponsored doping at the Sochi winter Olympics.

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The report found that Russia operated a state sponsored doping programme across the 'vast majority' of sports in both the summer and winter Olympics.

Based on the contents of the report, both USADA (United States Ant-Doping Agency) and the CCSE (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) called for a blanket ban on Russian athletes competing at the Rio games. Their letter, signed by Travis Tygart of USADA, was leaked to the media.

We write on behalf of a community of clean athletes and anti-doping organizations with faith that the IOC can lead the way forward by upholding the principles of Olympism...  the only appropriate, and permissible, course of action in these unprecedented circumstances is for the IOC to immediately suspend the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committees from the Olympic Movement.... and declare that no athlete can represent Russia at the Rio Olympic Games.

But other countries were deeply hostile to the idea of banning the Russians. One such country was Ireland.

OCI President Pat Hickey was scandalised by the proposal that the Russians be banned. Hickey said he was shocked at the notion that the anti-doping agencies had proposed such a thing.

"What mandate they have to lead an international call for a ban of another nation in the Olympic family?" he asked.

Hickey, who also sits on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) executive, said that the fact that the letter was sent the day before the McLaren Report was published had called into question the independence and confidentiality of that report.

On the Sean O'Rourke show, Hickey gave a stirring defence of the IOC's decision to reject the proposed ban on the Russians.

The reality of life is that we have a duty to protect the clean athletes,” he told listeners.

Everyone talks about collective responsibility, but when you have the right to collective responsibility versus the right for individual justice that every human being is entitled to, this has to be weighed up.

For example, if you in the morning commit a heinous crime, why should your family also be sentenced and jailed as a result of that?

The alacrity with which he defended the Russian Olympic team can be set against his brutal slapping down of Russia's whistleblower, Yuliya Stepanova.

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Stepanova, currently holed up in an undisclosed location and potentially in fear for her life, wanted to compete in the Rio Olympics under an IOC banner. Evidently unmoved by the argument that this would send a powerful anti-doping message and and embolden more whistleblowers to come forward, Hickey flatly rejected the notion she should be allowed to compete.

She's a convicted doper. She's one of the doped Russian athletes so she can't attend.

Read more: 'Amateur Boxing Stinks' - RTE Panel's Response To Scandalous Conlan Decision

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