John Oliver tackles Olympic doping ahead of upcoming Rio Games

In his main story on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver tackled the problem of doping by Olympic athletes. The Olympic Games can be very inspiring as the world watches its athletes compete at the top of their game. “But while the Olympics feature thrilling displays of athletic prowess, they can also take place beneath the dark shadow caused by doping scandals. And this Olympics is no exception.”

Most recently, the entire track and field team from Russia has been banned from the games in Rio due to doping, but Oliver pointed out that “there’s nothing new about this story. For as long as there’s been science, people have used it to juice the human body.”

“Despite rigorous testing, athletes are clearly slipping through the cracks, for multiple reasons,” Oliver said. “For a start, there are multiple tests, and none of them can detect the full range of drugs an athlete may be on.”

Using Russia as an example, Oliver ran through the process by which an athlete should be tested for drugs, and the process reveals a whole mess of corruption. “Think of doping like Vladimir Putin,” he reasoned. “It’s far from just a Russian problem, it’s something that adversely affects the entire world.”

Oliver suggested the best way to tackle doping is to better support the World Anti-Doping Agency. Until that happens, though, Oliver presents a new version of the classic inspirational athlete puff piece to give a more honest portrayal of Olympic athletes.

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