Does anyone still care about integrity of Olympics?

Four hours down the road, in Olympia of all places, a Russian woman found guilty of doping five years ago, won an Olympic gold medal for putting the shot a remarkable distance.

Four hours down the road, in Olympia of all places, a Russian woman found guilty of doping five years ago, won an Olympic gold medal for putting the shot a remarkable distance.

Here, the gut-wrenching affair of Konstadinos Kederis and Ekaterini Thanou was handed over to the athletics ruling body, the IAAF, and a member of the International Olympic Committee said that it was "good that it was over".

He too should have been sent to Olympia. Perhaps to be embalmed. Pontius Pilate is surely the historic model for this sleight of hand with water and towels, but for the IOC something must become obvious before the end of these Games, which have cost the Greek people billions of euros and a moment of crushing national heart-break, with the realisation that perhaps never in human history has so much been spent for such little return.

Finally, for the Olympic authorities, it has to be clear that the world of both government and ordinary people has finally sickened of the duplicities and the evasions that have marked the operating style of the richest, most powerful and, from time to time, corrupt of sporting organisations.

Here, significantly, there is no closing of ranks between the government of a nation that has invested so heavily and worked so brilliantly to recapture the spirit of a gift given to the world all those centuries ago, and the Olympic officials who every four years set up their camp, at grotesque expense, and take on all the trappings of an independent nation state.

Indeed in the aftermath of the "withdrawal" of Kederis and Thanou yesterday the most penetrating reaction came from an official of the Greek government.

Thodoris Roussapoulous simply wasn't accepting the IOC's desire to move on to other business.

His declaration that too many questions were unanswered, and that a judicial investigation would continue, was underlined by a comment that went to the heart of the problems of Olympic sport.

Said Roussapoulous: "The Olympics are nobody's personal affair but a world event - an event special to Greece not only as the birthplace of the Olympic idea but because of the participation of over 400 Greek athletes."

We can translate that easily enough. The IOC has to come down into the real world where you cannot push on one side the more unpalatable facts. You cannot carry on as though the behaviour of Kederis and Thanou does not make a bonfire of the ideals that were so solemnly declared by the Olympic chief, Jacques Rogge, in last Friday night's opening ceremony. You cannot sell, indefinitely, such profoundly flawed goods.

The voice of the Olympics was heard most clearly these last few days in the words of Arne Ljungqvist, the Swedish medical commissioner of the IOC. He said, with mind-numbing complacency, that the Kederis-Thanou affair was "unfortunate" but would not overshadow the athletics programme starting in the Olympic stadium tomorrow.

He is right only in an extremely limited way. It doesn't overshadow the events on the running track and in the field. It eats into their heart more ferociously than at any point since Ben Johnson was hauled down from the winning podium in Seoul in 1988.

"I remember," said Ljungqvist," when [the] Ben Johnson [affair] exploded it would be the end of track and field. I said the opposite. I said this was our chance to show how serious we were about stopping doping and that's what happened."

What really happened, of course, was that over no less than 16 years doping has reached epidemic levels, so flagrant that the hero and heroine of the host Olympic nation were emboldened to flout the testing regulations on three continents in the build-up to these Games.

Yesterday the world was invited to revisit the origins of the Olympics - and watch a convicted doper win the great prize of gold with a remarkable throw. Who was supposed to be impressed?

The Olympics may have come home these last few days, but in what kind of condition? Bedraggled and haunted, and they show unavoidable evidence of an increasingly misspent life over the last 108 years.

Here, though, they are now confronting the reality that the world is no longer in their thrall. It wants to know how they are going to remake themselves. If, that is, any people any longer care.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil