By Philip Barker
IOC Doyen Dick Pound was typically forthright at the celebrations of our 25th anniversary. He told members that the IOC lost “moral authority” by refusing to ban the entire Russian Olympic team from Rio.
“The failure to exclude Russia was an opportunity lost, a huge loss of moral authority by the IOC. Nothing gets attention like being sanctioned. There is a deterring effect on the sanctionee and anybody else. That’s the big opportunity we have missed with Russia in Rio.,” he said.
To commemorate 25 years, Pound focused on 25 aspects of the Olympic movement, ranging from political problems to marketing, television and, most prominently, doping.
He told ISOH members:
“Your efforts have added a lot to Olympic history. You’ve gone behind mere statistics, you have corrected errors and debunked some myths, and made truth more accessible and stories more interesting.”
There was a pleasing international flavour to the meeting which included founder members Tony Bijkerk, Volker Kluge, Peter Matthews and Stan Greenberg, as well as ISOH President David Wallechinsky.
Fernando Caillaux had travelled from Lima in Peru and husband and wife Olympians Gert Potgieter and Renate Junker came from their home in South Africa.
Our 25th anniversary also proved a fitting moment for the President and new ISOH Secretary Markus Osterwalder to present the Vikelas plaque to distinguished Dutch historian Ruud Paauw.
“This is a very special award. I don’t know who nominated me, but it is very special that I receive it amongst so many Olympic historians.” said Paauw.
Our gathering was held at the Victory Services Club in Central London, thanks to the efforts of Kitty Carruthers. It ended appropriately with afternoon tea , a great British tradition.