You might not know who (or what) Fancy Bears is, but the group is certainly causing headaches within International Olympic Committee circles.
In its latest apparent hack of email accounts linked to Olympic officials, Fancy Bears sets its sights on Canadian efforts at garnering Olympic success. Fancy Bears contends one reason the Canadians have pushed to get the Russians out of the Olympics is to increase the likelihood of Canadian success at the Games.
The information, released roughly 48 hours before the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Olympics, quickly was picked up by Russian news agencies.
RT noted that
The emails published on the hacker group’s website show Canadian sports figures exerting pressure on the international sports federations in an attempt to toughen sanctions against Russia.
Fancy Bears has focused its attention in recent months on Canada, largely because the effort to get Russian athletes banned from the Olympics because of doping was led by a Canadian.
Fancy Bears has shown particular interest in discrediting Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and professor who spent over a year investigating Russia’s widespread cheating techniques. McLaren’s findings provided the basis for banning Russia from the games, though his reports did not explicitly recommend Russia’s removal.
Radio Sputnik contacted me this morning and asked that I speak about this issue on one of its news programs. I’ve agreed to. That interview will take place tomorrow. Once a link to the interview is posted, I will share it with you.
Meanwhile, Canadian Olympic officials are apologizing, though it’s not certain they have to, after an altercation with a Russian in an Olympic cafeteria a few days ago. The New York Times states
Canadian officials said they were informed by the I.O.C. that the person who had engaged in the abusive behavior — whose identity remains unclear — may have been with their delegation, and the mere suggestion was enough for them to offer an apology.
Regardless of who was involved in the verbal spat, there is obvious tension between Canadian and Russian officials. We will find out in the coming days whether that same friction carries over when Canadian and Russian athletes interact on (and off) the competition sites.