Doping allegations – who decides whether athletes compete in the Olympics?

 

SugarLoafMtnRioBBCWorldService

Sugar Loaf by BBC World Service, CC

The summer Olympic Games begin soon in Rio with the opening ceremony set for August 5th. (Actually, women’s soccer begins August 3rd and men’s soccer begins August 4th. You can check the schedule here.) In addition to news reports about Zika, infrastructure and societal problems, and stunning poverty in Rio, you may have also heard reports of doping issues and other rules violations. But what regulatory bodies govern participation in the Olympics and how should you begin your research in this area?

Let’s take a look at the recent decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the Russian doping scandal. Reports of government supported doping by Russian athletes abounded after the Sochi games. The World Anti-Doping Agency appointed Canadian lawyer Richard H. McLaren to lead an Independent Investigation of the Sochi allegations. The report was issued on July 16, 2016 and detailed 3 key findings: (1) a Moscow testing laboratory operated, under the direction of the government, a system to protect Russian athletes described in the report as the “Disappearing Positive Methodology”; (2) a Sochi laboratory used a sample swapping technique to protect Russian athletes; and (3) the deliberate mishandling and swapping of samples at both laboratories was done under the supervision of the Russian Ministry of Sport.

On July 18th WADA’s Executive Committee recommended that the International Olympic Committee consider banning all athletes submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee and the Russian Paralympic Committee from participating in the Rio 2016 games.

 

MaracanaStadium

Estadio do Maracana by Luciano Silva, CC

So now what? Why does the IOC get to decide and what does it base its decision on? First, some history. The Olympic Games were re-established in the late nineteenth century and the IOC was created on June 23, 1894 as the governing authority for the Olympics. All organizations affiliated with the Olympics, such as International Federations (IFs), must agree to abide by the Olympic CharterIn order to participate in the Olympic Games, athletes must comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) for their sport.

After the McLaren Report, the IOC Executive Board had to quickly make a decision about the participation of Russian athletes in the Rio Olympic Games. On Sunday, July 24, 2016, they issued their decision. The Executive Board did not issue an outright ban, however, the onus was placed on the athlete to “rebut the applicability of collective responsibility in his or her individual case.” No Russian athlete will be able to participate in the Games without meeting certain criteria. The determination of eligibility will be made by the IFs after the athletes have met certain criteria including an individual assessment of the history of their anti-doping testing, mere absence of a positive test will not be sufficient. The athletes who are being banned from the games are failing to meet the criteria set out in Sunday’s IOC decision.

You can find official documents relating to the IOC through the Olympic Studies Centre. Some of the Centre’s documents collection is available online here. For links to more information about the International Federations for Olympic sports go here; and for more information about National Olympic Committee’s go here.

Struggling to find a research topic?

Bus with destination of Undecided

photo by flickr user Vanessa Pike-Russell

It is that time of year when many law students need to pick a research topic. One time-honored method for finding a topic is to look at circuit splits and see if an issue sparks your interest. Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg BNA have made finding these circuit splits easy. Simply log in to www.bloomberglaw.com. In the middle of the landing page, under “Law School Success,” click the link for “Upper Level Resources.” Under the “Law Review & Journal Research” section simply click on the “BNA Circuit Splits Table” link and you will be able to choose the table you would like by reporting month. Once inside a particular month’s table the splits are organized by topic. Happy Researching!

Be an Informed Voter

Ballotpedia is one of the more fascinating sites that you’ve probably never heard of. It’s a freely editable wiki, like Wikipedia, but much, much more specialized. With a couple of clicks, you can find out what measures are currently on the ballot across the country, details on all of the state legislative elections, and all sorts of information on what’s going on with the Georgia elections.

Ballotpedia also has a lot of historical information. Want to see what measures were on the Georgia ballot in 2004? Or 2000? You can find them there. In many cases you can even find a link to the full text of the measure or the official election results. And, of course, Ballotpedia will be updating the site tomorrow with all of the latest results.

Use FDsys.gov for federal gov docs

If you’ve been using www.gpoaccess.gov to access federal government documents, prepare yourselves for a long-awaited arrival:  the Federal Digital System, found at www.fdsys.gov!   The Government Printing Office has announced that, at the end of 2010, FDsys will be the GPO’s electronic system of record for government publications.

From now through the end of 2010, the sites will operate concurrently, but in 2011 you’ll have to use FDsys to retrieve the United States Code, Code of Federal Regulations, presidential documents, the Federal Register, the United States Government Manual, and many other useful government resources.  The COL Library encourages you to take the time to explore the FDsys site and how it functions.  There are helpful tutorials available, demonstrating how you can search or browse using the site.  Because the site is currently in public beta, the GPO is seeking public feedback.  Now is the time to share your thoughts about the new site!

An exciting feature of FDsys is the number of authenticated government documents.  The GPO takes a number of steps to assure that many of the electronic government documents are unaltered from their original publication.  The authenticated  documents available on FDsys have visible digital signatures.  A verified, authentic document will contain a Seal of Authenticity.  The seal is a graphic of an eagle and the words “Authenticated U.S. Government Information.”  Visit www.fdsys.gov and click on a recent piece of popular legislation–like the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act–to see the digital signature.

Resources for Law Student Life

The COL Library recently published a new research guide called “Life as a Law Student.”  The guide focuses on providing law students with resources about life in law school.

Whether you’re a 1L—new to law school—or a 3L looking forward to graduation, this guide includes resources that may be of interest to you.  There are links to books in the library that offer exam preparation advice.  You’ll find links to movies about life as a lawyer, perfect for relaxation after a hard day of classes and studying.  If you have a hard time turning off your technology, the selection of links available for both the iPhone and Android platforms is broad.  The links include both law-related and leisure sources.  Of course, the research guide also includes links to other online resources, including blogs that will keep you up to date on both legal gossip and legal news or provide you with information about life in Atlanta.