Doping and the Olympics: rights, responsibilities and accountabilities (watching the athletes): Barrie Houlihan
In the 1980s and early 1990s there were two statements that were routinely made by the then President of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, at the conclusion of the Olympic Games. The first was to congratulate the hosts on organising the ‘best games ever’ or some such similar phrase and the second was to comment on the continuing success in the ‘fight against doping’. Although the first statement was designed in part to flatter the hosts there was usually some substance to the assessment as 1980 marks the date from which hosting the Olympic Games became a competitive event in its own right with each set of bidding cities and subsequent hosts feeling compelled to out do the excesses of their predecessors. The second statement was much more difficult to verify and indeed was always delivered in a tone which suggested either wishful thinking or a wilful disdain for the evidence.