The release of the WADA report into allegations of widespread drugs cheating by Russian athletes is a reminder to all sports and all countries that corruption is a killer.
It kills the raison d’être of competition: joy at the possibilities of blending mind and body to do extraordinary things.
When competition is twisted by individuals’ rule-breaking for money or status, we all bear in the loss. The biggest losers are the clean athletes, yes, but also the audience who will drift away in disgust or despair, with a feeling that this life is less beautiful than it could have been. Should have been.
No sport is exempt from the scourge. Every sport has its cheaters: baseball, cricket, football, rugby. (Remember Dean Richards?)
Corruption in sport and business and government is an attack on all of us. It says that the game of life itself is rigged, that joy and beauty and hope are chimeras to be manipulated by the least amongst us.
Fight back. Insist on following the rules, especially in those moments when you could get away with it because you won’t get caught. Own up to the knock-on, call back the batsman, choose businesses that pay their employees and taxes properly.
There are worse things in life than losing. Winning with a guilty conscience is one of them.