Watch John Oliver Tackle Olympic Doping on Last Week TonightImages via HBO/YouTube Olympics Video Last Week Tonight
A lot of news leading up the 2016 Rio Games has focused on the seedy, surprisingly wide-spread world of athletic doping. Last week, the lab designated to test this year’s athletes was shut down by the World Anti-Doping Agency for a “non-conformity” issue.
Further, the International Olympics Committee recently upheld the International Association of Athletics Federation’s ban of the Russian Olympic track and field team amidst a statewide doping scandal that stretches back to London and Sochi.
It’s unbelievable stuff, made even more dubious and hilarious by late-night TV great John Oliver. In his latest 20-minute riff, Oliver breaks down the ridiculous extremes athletes have gone through to get that extra “edge” in their performance, from splicing chimp testicles to their own and even a, um … rather elaborate concealment method involving athletes’ nether regions.
Oliver also illustrates how drug testing labs are easily corrupted by the multiple athletic and government bodies that supposedly watch over them.
He also includes a heartbreaking testimonial from Alysia Montaño, a Team USA middle-distance runner who recounts losing in the 2012 Olympics race against admitted doper Mariya Savinova. “At that moment, I realized I was racing against robots,” she says, later stating, “I felt really failed and really betrayed and I actually felt like my career was a farce. Like, ‘What am I doing out here, what’s the point?’”
Oliver then finishes with a short showing of what cheesy Olympic athletic profiles should actually entail, given the prevalence of doping across the sport. The whole thing is hilarious and confounding and totally worth a watch above.