Once again, the Olympic world is in a tizzy over the doping of an athlete. This time, we are talking about a 15-year-old girl.
Many people wonder why the IOC wasn’t informed of the positive drug test. Others worry about the “credibility” of the Olympic Movement. All I can think of is: “We are talking about a 15 year-old girl here!”
Think for a minute about all the adults who might have conspired to drug this child: her parents, her coaches, her doctors, officials of the ROC. Unlike her, they are not making the front page. By the time the investigation is completed, the Olympics will be over. The culpable adults won’t be dragged in front of the press. All the world will remember is that a young athlete won (and probably lost) her gold medal by cheating.
Yes, she cheated.
But she was cheated too. By those who should have protected her.
Journalists and lawmakers are starting to investigate how certain public contracts related to COVID-19 have been awarded.
We should expect many more investigations of this kind all over the world. When billions of dollars converge on one event, whether it be the Olympics or a pandemic, there is bound to be corruption, self-dealing, and other improprieties.
With the Olympics or the World Cup, we understand the importance of augmenting corruption controls years before the event takes place. The minute the host city is announced, we can start reinforcing the compliance program and the ethical culture of our local operations before the first bid is due. With COVID-19, governments have not had time to do this. They’ve all had to rely on ordinary controls.
But here’s one thing we can prepare for: the reopening. Once the machine revs up again, and millions of customers are urging millions of companies to release goods that depend on millions of suppliers, the pressure will be on. And with pressure comes not only wrongdoing but a diminished capacity to fight wrongdoing.
On the other side of the reopening coin is the need to “ease” compliance. My friend Richard Bistrong wrote an excellent piece about it on the FCPA Blog, which I recommend you read with this one as an interesting balancing act.