PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—The big story coming into Pyeongchang was the IOC’s sanctions against Russia for the widespread doping that had ex post facto compromised the Sochi and Rio games. Now, with the 2018 Olympics just past their midpoint, a Russian curler has been officially charged with doping and, understandably, journalists here in Korea what to know want the IOC plans to do about it.
Aleksandr Krushelnitckii earned a bronze medal in the mixed doubles curling last week (along with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova); it has since been revealed that he tested positive for meldonium. In addition to casting a specter of doubt over the results of that event, this calls into question the IOC’s management of the systematic Russia doping scheme, including granting over 150 Russian athletes special dispensation to compete in Korea. After marching under an Olympic flag in the Opening Ceremony, there had been speculation that the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” would be allowed to carry their nation’s flag as a way of reinstating the delegation in the Closing Ceremony.
This is a major Olympic story! And there’s a lot left to wonder about! As such: dozens of reporters from outlets around the world have descended on the IOC/POCOG (Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) daily press briefing—an explicit forum for getting answers—the past couple days. And the IOC’s Director of Communications, Mark Adams has taken the opportunity to put on a master class of how to avoid saying anything meaningful in response to direct questions. Here are the best ways Adams has hedged over the course of two press conferences:
1. “I don’t know what the rules are.”
2. “I wouldn’t know about that. It sounds very interesting.”
3. “It’s difficult for me to give you a correct answer.”
4. “All things are possible.”
5. “I can’t confirm or not confirm.”
6. “That I don’t know, to be honest.”
7. “Some of you will know better than me what the process will be.”
8. “I don’t want to speculate.”
9. “I’m just speculating.”
10. “I may be wrong but…”
11. “Didn’t you have two questions?”
12. “It’s impossible for me to say.”
13. “I think it’s a little premature to talk about that.”
14. “I don’t know.”
15. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
16. “Let’s wait and see.”
17. “I stress again, I can’t talk about any individuals or sports.”
18. “The IOC can’t comment on specific cases.”
19. “I say once more, the testing and sanction is independent of the IOC.”
20. “I need more detail on that.”
21. “I don’t know about this specific case.”
22. “It’s for the Federation to decide.”
23. “If you want to direct that question to them, that’s probably better.”
24. “I’m not allowed to comment on that.”
25. “Let me get back to you about that.”
26. Getting hit by one of the repurposed party buses with tinted windows, gilded curtains, and colored lights that shuttle the media members here around the different venues.
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27. “I can’t comment on that.”