A Slovenian colleague called it “Kosovar doping controls” and it was to be seen as a form of tenderness: on August 7, 2016, the judokate Majlinda Kelmendi (less than 52 kilos) had just won gold in Rio, the first medal of a Kosovo freshly accepted in the Olympic concert. The shadow of a few scabrous checks accompanied the young woman with guard like bread in her mouth, and the shadow of the president of the International Judo Federation, the Romanian naturalized Austrian Marius Vizer, who took refuge behind the independence of the bodies responsible for controls. You couldn’t be mistaken.
Vizer’s address book had more names of Russian businessmen or oligarchs than the third Olympic sport needed for a living, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) combined the useful with the useful. , going for the money while planting its flag on a new state as one discovers virgin land. Four days later, Fiji took advantage of the integration of rugby sevens into the Olympic program to win their first medal (also gold) in fourteen participations: another small IOC flag in a territory hitherto ignored by the Olympic palmares . Some countries have difficulties to exist in sport? Sport will come to them. Si Carole Gomez, research director at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris), notes that “Rugby union is still very protected from globalization by its authorities” and that winter sports cannot overcome borders by nature, the globalization of sport is now winning everywhere, all the time.
It originates at a precise moment: the year 1973, and the electoral campaign aimed at winning the presidency of the International Football Federation (Fifa). The outgoing president is the Englishman Sir Stanley Rous, himself successor of his compatriot Arthur Drewry: like the International Board, guarantor of the laws of the game to the proverbial immobility, Fifa is then heard by its leaders like a conservatory, with the mission of protecting football from the excesses of men. Rous then faces the Brazilian João Havelange: during a campaign that will take him to the Soviet Union, the businessman, former international of water polo, will be the champion of football as an open space where everyone brings its difference. Sport as a meeting point.
Havelange will win, the Swiss Sepp Blatter – trained in the harsh school of Horst Dassler, son of the founder of the Adidas brand – will continue his work and football will no longer leave a corner in the shade, doubling the number of nations (from 16 to 32, pending 48 in 2026) invited to play in the finals of the World Cup which saw, at the same time, the African selection contingent go from one to five. Soccer has extended its power. And the lesson has been understood. In 2012, the IOC opened the doors of the London Games to a veiled judokate, the Saudi Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, thus amending a regulation requiring to appear bareheaded on the tatami.
The young girl was turned over on the first movement, a French executive was ready to swear that she had never set foot in a dojo before this Olympic tournament but the IOC could rejoice: in London, Saudi Arabia, but also Qatar and Brunei had sent female athletes to the Games for the first time in their history, which allowed the body to adorn itself with progressive intentions. A year later, in 2013, the German Thomas Bach was elected President of the IOC in Buenos Aires by order of the Kuwaiti Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah, former leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and president of the very influential Association of National Olympic Committees. In sporting matters, the surest political vector is still money.