Tuesday 21 February 2017

Martina Devlin: Olympic flame sputters in the wake of tickets scandal and Hickey's fall from grace

Published 20/08/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez
Pat Hickey at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Photo: Jack Guez
Pat Hickey. Photo: Brendan Moran

The keepers of the Olympic flame are exposing it to some unhealthy draughts, between allegations of doped athletes, crooked referees and unscrupulous ticket-touting. It's impossible to escape the conclusion that events at Rio 2016 are overshadowing the games and falling far short of the Olympic ideal.

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Perhaps the most perplexing episode surrounds Pat Hickey, in jail after being denied bail by a Brazilian judge and facing charges relating to fraudulent ticket-marketing.

Whatever happens, Ireland's reputation has been blemished on the international stage. Runner Sebastian Coe, who won gold twice for Britain, once said his boyhood heroes were Olympians. I wonder how many children today would echo his words?

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