Ireland’s Rio Olympics

Embarrassing antics in Rio.

What are we to make of the 2016 Rio Olympics?

NemesisMore to the point, how are we supposed to take it seriously when we know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of the competitors are using  performance-enhancing drugs?

What are we to make of the billions spent on a vanity project in a city where countless dirt-poor people became homeless when the government bulldozed their favelas to make way for the shiny new stadiums that benefit only the Brazilian rich?

What are we to think of our own participation in the Rio Olympics? Nearly all our boxers are now gone, some of them victims of bad judging and one who took illegal substances but was caught. There’s a murky story involving the alleged touting of tickets. People have been arrested, other people are targeted for arrest and meanwhile the head of the Olympic Committee of Ireland is seized with a delusion that we’re all idiots and the sport minister is a credulous fool who came down in the last shower.

But wait! Let’s not forget the wonderful O’Donovan brothers who captivated the whole world with their dry, laconic, laid back interviews after taking silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls.

Podium pants and pizzas.

Thanks lads. We needed that boost. It might get us past the disappointment of Katie Taylor’s defeat and the mind-boggling arrogance of Pat Hickey refusing to tell the sports minister anything about the missing tickets on “legal advice” and then inviting him to lunch.

The gods of Olympus must be filled with wrath as they gaze on these antics. But Olympus is six thousand milia from Rio and I suppose the gods’ powers must fall off in an inverse-squared sort of way, which means they can’t impose the Olympian ideal by force of will, even though they might wish to. More likely, they’d want to fling thunderbolts at the whole thing and be done with it.

Not Nike, though. The Greek goddess of victory, who diversified years ago and now makes a nice living from pseudo-Olympic activities around the world wouldn’t be flinging thunderbolts but Nike is very much the exception, apart from one other Greek goddess who might make the journey to Rio and I sincerely hope she does.


Now there’s a deity best served cold.

Maybe she’ll find time to share a salad with Pat Hickey.



Looks like Nemesis found time to have that lunch with Pat Hickey. He’s just been arrested in Rio and charged with three offences carrying a penalty of  up to seven years in jail.

Hickey is not just the head of the Irish Olympic committee. He’s also the most senior official in European sport.

The mind boggles.

15 thoughts on “Ireland’s Rio Olympics

  1. Might be a good thing if Nemesis struck a bolt of justice and returned the
    people’s homes.

  2. Great to see the Rio homeless being fed with Olympic leftovers. What boundless generosity.

  3. Bock you state that “we know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of the competitors are using performance-enhancing drugs?”… do we actually know this, on what evidence is this statement based which is highly insulting to the many athletes who take no part in doping?

  4. It would be insulting to the clean athletes if I claimed they were all doping, which I did not.

    The clean athletes must be well aware of, and highly concerned about the extent of cheating since it devalues their commitment far more than the likes of me ever could.

    As to the hundreds and perhaps thousands, let’s not get too legalistic. Would you prefer if I said “a large number”? Given the craven attitude of the IOC there is every incentive for national associations like the Russians to cheat. We saw the climbdown on the total ban. What message does that give out?

  5. There’s a sour taste to the Rio olympics. The IOC will have some explaining to do over the mishap with the selling of tickets for the games. Irish boxers will have to overcome the shadow cast over amateur boxing by the misbehaviour of one disqualified competitor. Communities around the country will have to redouble their support for local sports clubs, boxing, running, sailing and things, so that an active infrastructure can get us geared for the Tokyo olympics of 2020. Although the boxers disappointed us in Rio, don’t forget that they brought home medals and public admiration from the three previous olympics. There are clubs in small towns and cities where the training and tournaments are continuing steadily. Support their sport and their local fundraising events.

  6. Fair point Bock and I do agree that the antics of the IOC have indeed left a sour taste as Ben R rightly says, lets now see if Shane Ross has the balls to take on the IOC, if he were on the opposition back benches he would be calling for a public enquiry..!!

  7. The IOC and a public enquiry are matters to be addressed when Team Ireland returns with its two silver medals for Annalise Murphy and the O’Donovan brothers (and any other medal that just might be won, though nobody’s optimistic). There are currently legal constraints due to the holding of an Irish citizen in Brazilian police custody. Let the games end before we have a media national punch-up.

  8. As an Englishman, I have been astonished to watch the complete transformation of British Olympic fortunes through the massive injection of National Lottery funding into non-commercial sports. Britain has won medals in sports where previously they would have had no hope.

    Why are Irish athletes not receiving comparable support from the Lotto?

    Of course, the budget would be smaller, but why is there not focus on some particular areas where excellence would be possible. Ireland under-performs when compared with somewhere like Denmark, a country with a comparable population (especially when Northern Ireland participation in the Ireland is included). A gold medal or two should be possible at every games.

  9. Pat Hickey, President of Olympic Council of Ireland and OCI member, arrested in Rio for alleged ticket touting this morning.

    Irish bantam Mick Conlan dropping a unanimous decision to Nikitin amid claims of bribery of judges from Russians.

    Conlan tweeting Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him how much did he pay the judges.

    Hickey, declining to condemn Russia for their state-sponsored doping programme,pictured with Putin, all smiles, from a few years back. Judo is the connection.

    Taylor, best pound-for-pound female boxer of all time, losing to a Finnish opponent she beat five times prior to Rio.

    Male boxer becomes the only Irish athlete in the history of Irish Olympic sport since Paris 1924 to be expelled from an Olympic village after admitting taking a performance enhancing substance.

    Former Irish judge claiming on RTE this morn that he was approached by one Russian at 4am in the morning in a hotel to score a fight for a Russian fighter the next day at an international tournament a few years back.He alleges the Russian offered him a “gift” – a gold watch.

    I’d demand money myself!.

    Ken Egan, Beijing 2008 silver medallist, warning that boxing is in danger of losing its Olympic status if AIBA don’t ban corrupt judges.

    Others claiming that International Boxing Association caused the corruption by introducing the 10-point must scoring system which can be subjective.

    Russia are getting so many dodgy decisions in the ring at Rio 2016 that the only way you’d win is if you’re holding the death cert of our opponent in your hand, and even at that they’d probabaly only give you a split decision.

    What’s not to like about the 31st Olympiad?

  10. hello Ian ,

    understand where you’re coming from but the UK media are remiss with the hard question on their ” own ” competitors – as my pal put it recently ,

    “amazing how Mo Farah hears the bell in his races but never hears it when the testers come calling…”

    Bernard ,

    were the losing Irish boxing decisions marginal – any of them – or were they all shite decisions ???

  11. Mr Sniffle and Mr Bock, Conlan decision was just daylight robbery,while Taylor verdict was pretty close. I still thought she did enough to win, but she was a bit flat in the fight overall. Joe Ward was given two harsh public warnings for holding which effectively handed the South American, who was also holding, the fight.

    Most of the other decisions against Irish were pretty tight, except Irvine who was well beaten.

    International Boxing Association announced today that some refs and judges are being sent home from Rio. Won’t name them. My guess is that the three – Brazil, Sri Lanka and Poland – who judged Conlan fight are amongst those booted out.

  12. The clue is in the text. As an Englishman.

    You should know by now that nothing we do in this country is straight. Nothing.

  13. The BBC reported that the British Olympic cycling team, which has so far won six gold, four silver and two bronze medals in Rio had received £30 million in funding (a third of the price of Manchester United’s latest signing).

    When I went to the Lotto site, I can find no details of grants paid. There is a list of the “good causes” funded, but no detail of individual grants.

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