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Russian columnist accuses Canadians of drug use

It’s one thing to feel disappointment after your hockey team fails to medal, especially when many expected at least a silver. It’s one thing to walk away angry after a wholly disappointing effort. Even Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev was angry over his country’s weak performance.

“Those who are responsible for training for the Olympics must take responsibility,” Mr. Medvedev said on Monday. “They must have the courage to submit their resignation,” he said. “And if they do not have this resolve, we will help them.”

That’s one thing. That’s expected, and you have to respect that stance. They are angry and the country wants to do better, especially with the next Winter Olympics being held in Sochi in 2014.

Yet columnist Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey of the online Russian newspaper Pravda has taken a different stance. He alleges that not only were the Canadians taking performance-enhancing drugs and getting away with it, but that the Russian athletes were having their food laced with drugs as well.

I kid you not. More after the jump.

From the Pravda article, which is the top story on their website today:

The middle finger and the giant raspberry go to the Canadian ice hockey team. Were they on drugs the day they beat Russia so overwhelmingly? These days, and since the USSR’s 8-1 thrashing of Canada in the early 80s, Canada-Russia ice hockey games are always very closely fought events and there has not been such a monumental difference between the two sides. Very strange, the more so since the same Team Canada (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) put in an extremely lacklustre performance against lowly Slovakia and was lucky to reach Sunday’s final. And for anyone who is about to be shocked by the question, one supposes it is OK to make cheap and gratuitous references to Russians and doping, but when the ball rolls back home it hurts. Right?

We will never know, will we? We will never know, because the officials at Vancouver predictably did not mete out to the Canadians the shockingly humiliating treatment given to the Russian skier Natalya Korosteleva, asked to produce a urine sample during the break between the quarter-and semi-finals of her event. Had she complied, she would not have had time to enter the semis. And such was the hounding of the Russian athletes that there are rumours many refused to eat for fear their food would be laced with steroids.

Obviously, this is just a Russian columnist writing for an online, sensationalist newspaper. But this cannot be a serious article, can it? Is he really accusing the Canadians of not only lacing the Russians food, but being involved in a Martin-Scorcese-level conspiracy that has the Canadians taking drugs and then the IOC testers overlooking it?

He goes on to say that none of the Russians will be missing Vancouver, and it was all just a big waste of time. Somehow, he ties in Russian health-care and the overall employment rate in his argument, but this is easily just one big, insane rant. Right?

Is this seriously what the Russians want to start, when they will be hosting the Olympics in four years?