But many Russian voices expressed the opposite view, calling the decision a politicized one.The head of Russia’s curling federation, Dmitry Svishchev, asserted: “I am profoundly convinced that it was made under pressure. Someone needed Russia not to participate in the Games.”I have a third view. The IOC decision was tragic but necessary.“Russia,” however, should neither be blamed nor defended.Instead, the Russian government must be assigned full responsibility for this tragedy, both by foreign governments and athletes but also by Russian society.Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend, Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, oversaw this industrial cheating scheme.That’s why the IOC banned Mutko from all future Olympic competitions. Gold medal winners will not get to hear the Russian national anthem, all because of Putin’s decision to cheat.The other losers are fans around the world, including me, who wanted to see these Russian athletes compete in Pyeongchang not as “Olympic athletes from Russia” but as fierce, proud, and patriotic members of the Russian national team.International and Russian fans who wanted to see the Russians compete in the Winter Games next year must blame Putin for this tragedy, not all of Russia and most certainly not all Russian athletes.And Russian citizens must stop blaming foreigners for this sad outcome as well and start beginning to hold their own government accountable.It’s time for Russians to start pressing Putin and his government to make different decisions. Russian athletes, and fans around the world of the Winter Games, deserve better.Michael McFaul is director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a fellow at Stanford University.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Another close Putin confidant and president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, was suspended as an IOC member.Make no mistake: Mutko and Zhukov were not some rogue actors, acting independently from Putin or the Russian government.They were his lieutenants.In Putin’s government today, there are no independent actors.Obviously, the IOC had no interest in banning one of the powerhouses in winter sports from the Games. Putin compelled them to make this decision.In assigning blame to the Kremlin, the international community as well as Russian society also should recognize that the biggest victims of the Russian government’s decisions are the clean Russian athletes who played by the Olympic rules.Putin has said Russia would not prevent its athletes from competing as neutrals, but that means they will be denied the proud moment of watching the Russian flag ascend during the medals ceremony — what should be the highlight of their athletic careers. Categories: Editorial, OpinionLast week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a shocking decision to ban Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, due to Russia’s “systematic manipulation of the anti-doping rules.”The public reaction to this decision — by government officials and public commentators, and on my Twitter feed — was very polarized.Most around the world rejoiced. “Russia” got what it deserved, so many explained.
The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.Unlike USC, the Bruins (8-1) have already had a misstep so far this year, despite their No. 1 rank, after stumbling to Nebraska during the first week of the season. Since then, though, UCLA has rattled off seven straight wins behind the play of senior leaders Rachael Kidder and Tabi Love.Coincidentally enough, the Women of Troy counter the senior outside hitters of UCLA with a pair of freshman who have played well beyond their years during the early part of this season. Leading the pack has been freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, who has burst onto the national scene with her stellar play at the net.Along with Bricio, fellow freshman Alicia Ogoms has started to come on strong, as her playing time has slowly begun to increase. At 6-4, Ogoms has displayed an uncanny knack for the big block, even in part-time duty, and has flashed the ability to be a dominant force at the net as the season goes on.Supplementing the play of the pair of freshman has been junior All-American libero Natalie Hagglund and potential All-American and senior captain Katie Fuller.After playing a marginal role on last year’s Final Four team, Fuller has been a dominant force from the off-hand position and has gracefully taken on the job of being the elder statesman of the group. While her hitting has been excellent, the senior opposite hitter has continued to impress with her passing as she has set and then broken her career-high for digs in a game.In the back row, Hagglund doesn’t have a pretty job, but her serve-receive and passing prowess has been a boon to the undefeated Women of Troy. Constantly moving and hustling, the libero provides playoff experience and sets the tone for USC on and off the court.Over their last 10 matches against each other, USC and UCLA have an even split at 5-5, with the Women of Troy garnering the last win at the end of the 2011 season. For USC, Wednesday’s game is their first chance to successfully defend the Pac-12 title they earned last season.Though the 2012 season is still in its infantile stages, it is never too early for a tough test, even against a conference rival. For a team like the Women of Troy that lack big-game experience as a group, Wednesday’s game is a great way to gauge both where the team is and where it might end up. The No. 2 USC women’s volleyball team is set to face crosstown rival and top-ranked UCLA on Wednesday at the Galen Center. Coming off of four straight weekends that have ended with tournament wins, the Women of Troy (12-0) won’t catch a break, opening up Pac-12 play with their toughest challenge so far this season.Rivalry · Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio has led USC to a 12-0 start. They play UCLA Wednesday, winners of the 2011 national title. – Corey Marquetti | Daily Trojan