John Oliver in his program, Last Week Tonight, takes complex issues and explains them simply and, often times devastatingly, with humor. Recently, he took on the topic of doping.
It is powerful, and hysterical.
One early scene, Oliver shows an American anti-doping official observing an athlete urinate to show the world the humiliating extremes authorities feel they have to go to prevent cheating.
He quotes the former head of top world anti-doping regulator (WADA), Dick Pound, saying that no matter what processes you have in place to prevent doping and cheating, if there’s a will there’s a way.
“The machinery is all there. The question is, do people really want it to work. You can do hundreds of thousands of tests and catch nobody if you don’t want to catch anybody. Yeah. People don’t want it to work.”
Oliver goes on to show the dismay of athletes who feel they are competing fruitlessly against cheaters, and don’t know what to do about it. Alysia Montaño came in fifth in the 800 meter race at the 2012 Olympic Games, losing to three people from countries (Russia and Kenya) whose anti-doping authorities have been deemed inadequate. Montaño states that she felt she was “racing against robots”, and wondered at her predicament “What am I doing here? What’s the point?”
The 20-minute piece, every minute worth watching, builds to a glorious finish with a fantastically funny spoof of the inspirational profile of an Olympic athlete. Please watch this video.