Tokyo olympics

Why Russia’s Olympic punishment backfired

The Tokyo Olympics are over and fifth place in the medals table went to the ‘ROC’, the Russian Olympic Committee. Rather than being punished for its state-run doping programme, Russia has turned it into a perverse triumph, illustrating the weakness of sanctions as a way of trying to shape international behaviour. Of course, Moscow denied systematic cheating, but after the World Anti-Doping agency imposed a four-year ban in 2019, reduced to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2020, they were forced to accept that if Russian athletes were going to compete, they could not do so under their own flag. They hardly went deep undercover, though.

Why should we expect Nicola Sturgeon to support Team GB?

It hasn’t been a great month for Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. First, there was the announcement that an official police investigation would take place into missing money from donations supposedly ‘ring-fenced’ for a future independence campaign; then questions about why Scotland’s vaccination targets had been missed led, apparently, to Sturgeon’s ‘Trump like meltdown’ (how she must have hated that comparison); and to cap it all off, Team GB started off rather well at the Tokyo Olympics. The sporting success led to politicians from all hues of the political spectrum tweeting their congratulations: all hues save the bright yellow of the Nats that is – from whence silence. Not one

Will the Tokyo Olympics go ahead?

Tokyo This week was the tenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the country. It, along with the tsunami it triggered, claimed an estimated 19,000 lives. I was walking in the Shibuya district of Tokyo when the quake knocked me off my feet. I recall being first puzzled (why am I falling?); then awestruck, as I glanced up at a thin concrete ‘pencil’ building swaying gently like a flower in the breeze. Two women on a balcony seemed to be, bizarrely, unaccountably, laughing. Then I became aware of a man running towards me, gesticulating frantically and, oddly for Japan, swearing. When the

Will Japan ban its ‘offensive’ Rising Sun flag at the Tokyo Olympics?

Ant and Dec have done most things in their long careers in light entertainment. But the versatile duo broke new ground last week when they infringed on international diplomacy by wearing Japanese Rising Sun flags on their headbands in a skit with singer Anne-Marie. The use of allegedly offensive WW2 era imagery forced programme makers to edit the sequence for future broadcast. ITV and Anne-Marie were obliged to make hasty apologies. But is the Rising Sun really offensive? And is anyone really offended? The flag is of ancient origin, but it has been associated with the Japanese military since 1870, it is still the emblem of the Self Defense Force