In the absence of high-profile doping stories, journalists covering the London Olympics are forced to settle for smaller scandals, which sometimes provoke themselves.
A distinctive feature of the London Olympics is the absence of high-profile doping scandals. Several athletes convicted of taking illegal drugs, including a Russian woman, were suspended from participating in the competition. But, firstly, there are not many people caught on doping, and secondly, they are not world sports stars of the first magnitude.
The organizers of the London Olympics warned that doping control at these Games will be the most thorough in history. Blood and urine samples from athletes are sent to the laboratory in Harlow, 25 kilometers north of London, every hour. One hundred and fifty experts check samples around the clock for the content of dozens of illegal drugs, looking for traces of not only the well-known erythropoietin (EPO) and growth hormone, but also new substances that increase strength and endurance.
Will the XXX Summer Games be recognized as the "cleanest" in terms of doping? Most likely, yes. Many NOCs have decided to self-screen team members prior to sending them to London to avoid embarrassment on competition days. However, some experts offer a different explanation: it is possible that athletes who have used gene doping are already performing on treadmills and in swimming pools. It is impossible to detect it in existing anti-doping laboratories.
Officials from the British Anti-Doping Agency say that "manipulating genes to increase strength and endurance is now more of a theoretical than a practical possibility." In informal conversations, they admit that the news that one of the Olympians tried to improve their results with the help of gene doping would not surprise them too much. The International Anti-Doping Agency announced that it is investing "significant funds and resources" in the development of technologies that will identify athletes with altered genes.
During gene doping with the help of an inactivated virus or in some other way, foreign DNA is introduced into the body. It is responsible for muscle growth, oxygen supply, blood production, resistance to pain, and other components of elite sports. The results can be phenomenal, as American biologists from the University of Pennsylvania have repeatedly demonstrated in experiments on mice. First, they bred a genetically engineered marathon mouse that could run twice the length of its natural counterpart, and eat as much as possible without gaining weight. Later, thanks to the efforts of the same team of genetic engineers, who were looking for new ways to treat muscular dystrophy, "Schwarzenegger" saw the light. So the journalists dubbed a mouse with an unprecedentedly large muscle mass, preserved in a rodent to a ripe old age.
Repeating these results is the cherished dream of athletes and their mentors. In 2006, the case of a trainer came to court in Germany, who asked doctors about the possibilities of using repoxigen in athletes, a gene preparation for the treatment of anemia containing the erythropoietin gene. The possible negative consequences of genetic manipulations (in the course of experiments on monkeys, it was found that increased production of EPO leads to thickening of the blood) athletes are not too scared.
Robert Goldman, founder of the US National Academy of Sports Medicine, has periodically conducted a survey among the American sports elite since the 1980s, wondering if respondents would agree to take stimulant medications that would surely bring them a gold medal, but five years later would lead to of death. More than half of the athletes answer in the affirmative, and this percentage remains almost the same from survey to survey.
Escape of Africans and the stuffing of condoms
In the absence of high-profile doping stories, journalists covering the London Olympics are forced to settle for smaller scandals, which sometimes provoke themselves. Recently, the popular tabloids The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express printed instead of a photo of the British gold team in equestrian dressage, a photo of the Dutch bronze rivals. Moreover, the Daily Mirror is on the front page. The whole Great Britain was laughing.
For several days, newspapers have been following the search for escaped Cameroonian athletes. From the Olympic Village in East London, seven Olympians representing this African state have disappeared: six men and one woman. The British authorities are not commenting on the situation, but The Daily Telegraph suggests that athletes from one of the poorest countries on the planet have decided to illegally stay in Britain. If this is confirmed, then the disappearance of Cameroonians will become the most massive in the history of the Olympic Games.
The Cameroon team missed their entire boxing squad, half of the swimming team (consisting of two people), also a female football player.
All boxers have already lost their matches, but the swimmer did not dare to try the water in the Olympic pool. The footballer disappeared altogether, as it turns out now, even before the opening of the Games. But since Drusill Ngako was not the main goalkeeper, but a substitute goalkeeper, the coach did not attach much importance to her act.
All of the above athletes left the Olympic Village with their belongings. But this circumstance for some reason does not prevent the British authorities from hoping that the Cameroonian Olympians “just went to see the sights or visit friends,” writes the Telegraph.
The head of the Cameroonian delegation to the Games, Mr. David Ojong, officially announced to his homeland: "What was at first a rumor was confirmed - seven Cameroonian athletes who took part in the London Olympic Games have disappeared from the Olympic Village." As it turns out now, the fugitives were last seen at a reception in one of the expensive London hotels. The National Olympic Committee of Cameroon has asked the organizing committee of the London Olympic Games to help in capturing the fugitives.
To be fair, it should be noted that Cameroonians were not the first to guess to use the chance to participate in the Games in order to change their place of residence. In June, a 15-year-old torchbearer from Ethiopia disappeared. He was followed by three athletes from Somalia. The Telegraph also mentions another potential illegal, who is only known to be from Africa and came to London to participate in the middle distance races. But, apparently, he changed his mind and chose the longest distance separating him from his homeland.
Another sportive conflict has flared up these days over unauthorized condoms for the inhabitants of the Olympic Village. Durex is the only official supplier of free contraception for the Games participants. It is part of the UK-based consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser. The exclusive rights of the partners of the Olympics are protected very carefully, all the more surprising was the appearance in the Olympic village of a whole box with "outside" condoms, which depict boxing kangaroos. The Games Organizing Committee is investigating the injection of contraceptives. So far, there are two versions: the tricks of competitors Durex or the prank of athletes from Australia, who decided to somewhat diversify the everyday life of the Olympic Village.
Free condoms were distributed to the participants of the Games in 1992 in Barcelona. The IOC supports this tradition by highlighting its importance in the prevention of HIV infection. A total of 150,000 condoms were loaded into dispensers installed at the Olympic venues in London for 11,000 athletes - 50,000 more than in Beijing 2008. After 70 thousand condoms prepared for the participants of the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were used ahead of schedule, the organizers had to order another 20 thousand pieces, Reuters recalls.
Where, after exhausting competitions, do athletes have the strength for intimacy? “Judge for yourself: amazingly beautiful and talented people in excellent athletic form gather in one place for a long time,” says Alexander Chernov, blogger BFM.ru who has covered several Olympics. - Secondly, we have married coaches. Probably, there is a place for non-traditional sexual couples, female and male. Some sports, probably, are more inclined towards this”.
In many ways, the active nightlife on the territory of the Olympic Village is due to the fact that in the rest of London, famous throughout the world for noisy parties and an abundance of elite clubs, it barely glimmers. “The city is surprisingly quiet. Everyone went on vacation, "- explained to the newspaper The Wall Street Journal the London promoter, who is organizing the performance of world stars in the British capital.
Members of national swimming teams from several countries, who went to the Chinawhite nightclub, popular with London bohemians, were convinced of this by their own experience. On this occasion, the administration was forced to soften the dress code: the athletes were allowed to enter in jeans and flip flops. Despite this indulgence, several swimmers told WSJ at once: London was boring, Beijing was much more fun and one could count on more free cocktails from the establishment.