LONDON – Olympic chiefs have implemented a sweeping range of cross-sport measures designed to avoid a repeat of the badminton result-fixing scandal that marred the 2012 Games.
The International Olympic Committee was deeply embarrassed by the situation that saw four badminton women's doubles pairs disqualified for trying to lose a group match and has looked at every remaining event of the Games to ensure there is no repeat.
IOC chief Jacques Rogge wants to ensure "full effort" from every competitor and has targeted situations where the correct result could be affected by the actions of athletes.
" 'Full effort' is the catchphrase right now," said an IOC source. "Everything is being looked at. [Rogge] is clear. The badminton issue must not appear elsewhere."
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One event that has been singled out is the men's triathlon competition, due to be held in Hyde Park on Tuesday. The possibility for a fixed result was highlighted when British brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, the top two ranked triathletes in the world, deliberately crossed the line together at an event earlier this year. Jonathan Brownlee has previously spoken of how his dream for the Games would be for him and his brother to cross the line together and win a joint gold medal.
Officials have taken pre-emptive action by warning the pair that any repeat in the Olympics would lead to an automatic disqualification.
The International Triathlon Union, the sport's governing body, has met with the IOC and will not accept anything that appears to resemble collusion to arrange a result.
"Intentionally trying or agreeing to cross the line together under ITU rules brings a mandatory penalty of automatic disqualification," spokesperson Paula Kim said. "Given what has happened in the badminton at the Olympics, we need to be clear about the rules, that there is no room for suggestion that the race has been manipulated in any way at all."
In most events, especially those with a single-elimination format or track and field competitions, there is nothing to worry about as any lack of effort would only penalize the competitor responsible.
But the IOC is also conscious of monitoring any event where a contestant is not fully invested in trying to win. In the men's cycling road race, France's Mickael Bourgain intentionally withdrew just a few minutes into the event so that he could also compete in the track cycling (to fulfill criteria set out in cycling's complicated international rules). Such scenarios are high on the IOC's "hit list" as it moves forward towards Rio in 2016.
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