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.
Stephen Colbert, like his former boss Jon Stewart and his former colleague, John Oliver, has a wit as sharp as Occam’s razor. It is often a joy to listen to him dissect an issue. In the above video clip, his dissection of the state of the Rio Olympics felt more like a vivisection. Here are a few examples:
I’m pumped for the Rio Games. They are less than two months away…or never…because yesterday Rio’s acting governor warned “the Olympics could be a big failure.”
Many of the venues are still unfinished, possibly because more than ten billion dollars in construction contracts went to just five firms, all of which are currently under investigation for price fixing and kickbacks. This has already led to top executives and politicians being jailed or charged…although the plus side for those executives – the prisons won’t be completed until 2036.
Experts don’t expect an increase in arrests during the Olympics in part because police patrols may grind to a halt because they can’t afford to buy fuel. Though with any luck the problem will solve itself when the cars are stolen. These budget shortfalls led first responders to stage protests all over Rio yesterday, including one at the airport where police held a sign that read: Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.
Hell. It explains why they’re changing the Olympic logo from three people holding hands to two guys mugging the other guy.