Yesterday Chaps broke the news on here that the IOC banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang: 2018 thanks to their blood-doping, vodka-soaked evilness. I didn’t weigh in because I was holding out hope that some of the top Russians would take advantage of the hall pass they were offered. That the clean ones would be allowed to compete under a neutral flag, so that they wouldn’t have to pay the price for what their godless, corrupt government did.
I’m sorry to report that dream is dead.
More than any other athlete in the Games, I was looking forward to watching gold-medal favorite Evgenia Medvedeva compete. So it’s with a heavy heart I report she has announced she will not. And her reasons are both heartbreaking and beautifully defiant at the same time:
I thought that we, the “clean” Russian athletes, had nothing to worry about. If someone really committed anti-doping rule violations, we certainly do not have anything to do with this.
In 2014, I was 14 years old. I have not even entered the adult national team of my country. For me personally, Pyeongchang should be the first chance to plunge into the unique atmosphere of the Olympic Games. I do not understand why I and my Russian teammates can lose this chance.
I took part in many different tournaments and I’m terribly proud of my two world titles. But the Olympics is a dream! Everyone has dreams, and you probably already had a chance to fulfill your own. Let me do the same! I do not know if there will be other Games in my sports life after Pyeongchang.
I always believed that the opportunity to compete at the Olympics should be fought on the ice. Unfortunately, now I understand that I can lose this chance because of circumstances that do not depend on me in any way.
I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete. I am proud of my country, it is a great honor for me to represent it at the Games. It gives strength and inspires me during the performances.
That is just poetry. I haven’t been this moved by the words of a Russian woman since Bridget Nielsen gave the “You think you are so good and we are so very bad” speech before her husband fought Rocky. And while I respect the hell out of Evgenia’s stance and admire her patriotism, I’m sad to say that we’ll all lose in her decision. Not only was she the presumptive favorite in Pyeong Chang, the Russians were expected to take all three medals in the Ladies competition. And both gold and silver in Pairs, which is their national sport. To put her in perspective, I was there to witness Evgenia’s record-setting performance to win 2016 Worlds in Boston, skating to “Allegro” by René Aubry. Check this out:
THAT is what this whole sordid affair is costing us. Sure, I love my country too. I’ll still be going all out cheering for Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Karen Chen. And Pairs like Meryl Davis and Charlie White. And Men Jason Brown and Nathan Chen. I’m Team USA all the way. But if they win, it’ll be a hollow victory. I’m a big believer that what stands in your way becomes The Way. And now that way is being denied. I love my country, but I also love figure skating, and this event I’ve been looking forward to since Sochi is already ruined. 2018 is still three weeks away it sucks before it even begins. Thanks, Putin.