The IOC Has Lost The Moral Right To ‘Guard’ The Olympic Ideal

1896-Modern-Olympic-Founder (1)
Photo Courtesy: 1896 Olympic Founders - Wikipedia

Commentary by John Leonard, Executive Director of ASCA and WSCA.

The IOC has made the cowardly decision to defer to its subordinates on the question of Russian participation in Rio. Shame on Them, shame on the President, shame on all who accept this decision.

It is morally indefensible.  “Zero Tolerance?” Really? for individuals stupid enough to be caught, perhaps, but when one of the leading National Olympic Committees in the world CONSPIRES TO CHEAT THE WORLD, the IOC says “each sport may decide.” Literally, “in-credible”, as in NOT CREDIBLE.

We need a new international organization to assume control over the concepts of the Olympic Games, and prioritize Clean sport with protection for Clean Athletes. I would recommend Dick Pound lead this new organization. No one else in the world has both his dedication to clean sport, and experience with the concepts of the Olympic Games. Dump “what’s-his-name” who is the pretender to the current Presidency, and is the betrayer of the Olympic Games and call on Mr. Pound.

As it stands today, the only people who will ever pay a price for cheating are those individuals stupid enough to be caught. (and you have to be pretty stupid). Meanwhile every NOC in the world is free to devise clever new ways to thwart the rules, laugh at the rules and Cheat Every Clean athlete in the world. How many will? More than we want. And the IOC will accept institutional cheating while farcically railing against individuals who are “caught”. What a Con Job!  One hopes we will never again hear the ludicrous “Zero Tolerance” phrase from the IOC or its lackey, FINA.

The IOC has lost the moral right to “guard” the Olympic Ideal. It must be replaced.

Further, note the following: ” I love and believe in the power of the sport of swimming to transform lives. I love and believe in the power of good coaches to change lives for the better. I no longer love and believe in the Olympic Games. (the end of my lifelong love affair with the concept.) Perhaps I and many others have been naïve in the belief that all the “bad guys” in the Olympic so-called “movement” were in the past, and the future was “cleaning up.” Perhaps they have all simply been con men dedicated to self, and not to the true advancement of Olympic Ideals. The time for belief and love of the Olympic Games is Over.

Swimming, exactly like Golf and Tennis, DO NOT NEED THE OLYMPIC GAMES. As soon as swimmers realize they can own and create their own events like Golf’s Masters and related championships, and Tennis’ Grand Slam series, the sooner elite swimmers can take charge of their own destiny and make individual decisions on participation in the future Olympic Circus.”

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASCA, WSCA, Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.


  1. avatar
    Mindy Dougherty

    Wow..I respectfully disagree with regards to getting rid of the Olympics..if the morals have decayed to such an extent, than all competition becomes tainted. . No matter what you call the meet. .that includes Worlds, Grand Prix events..nothing is exempt. .so the clean athletes kick is remarkable that the majority of the top swimmers in the world are clean! And they will have their Olympic dreams fulfilled. .i think the answer is independent sample, two lab national, the other neutral. .

  2. avatar
    Ana Paula Ambrosio

    With all respect, but John Leonard executive director of American Swimming Coaches Association and World Swimming Coaches Association. This gentleman never was a coach, he never coach anybody. No international medals, no USA swimmers, no world ranking, absolutely nothing. How and why he has such an authority to speak on behalf of something he has no idea at all. Its time to review this leadership.

  3. avatar
    Michael Heather

    This subject, or something like it, comes up with some regularity. The IOC needs to take a good hard look at itself and its method of governing, but will that happen? Probably not. The people who pretend to the IOC do not want their paths darkened or muddied, so they will go along to get along. IOC, for all the good it can do and was meant for, is just a corrupt bunch of “flatulent old frogs” as I once heard them described. In the meantime, the athletes who provide the spectacle get short shrift.

  4. avatar

    Professional golf & tennis, soccer (at least the male side) can most certainly live and prosper without the Olympics as they already have their “pinnacle’ events independent of the Olympics. US originated sports like baseball, ice hockey are similar cases probably can due to the limited scope of international competition. US pro basketball will undoubtedly survive but not the international game. It may well be that the sport could contract to being US based.

    Where he is very wrong is his assertion that swimming could prosper without the Olympics. Oh yes, the sport as an activity will of course carry on. The NCAA competition can almost certainly continue but as an INTERNATIONAL sport …. almost certainly no.

    What is the carrot for the bulk of swimmers around the world (outside the NCAA bubble) … the dream on being an Olympic champion or swimming at the Olympics. The Olympic championships long predate the World Championships and its the marketing linkages and getting airtime during that period that is the lure for the corporate dollar.

    Funding is already getting much tighter in many Western countries where much of the elite sports funding comes from public sector. Take away the prime window for the sport and that’s a death warrant for the sport.

    • avatar

      I agree with you, commonwombat. I don’t know how swimming can stand on its own without the Olympics. Golf and tennis are not very good comparisons to swimming and as you pointed out already have their own events and fan base. Even golf, at least women’s golf, needs the Olympics for exposure, which is why I believe that there has only been one female golfer that has dropped out.

  5. avatar

    I beg anyone who is insinuating that American’s have any decency to be the judges of moral rights, for crying out loud look at what our country does all across the globe. look at our society today, look at the theft committed by the DNC. Are we in any position to be judging others? don’t think so

    • avatar

      Give me a break!

  6. avatar