At a press briefing last week with International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams, there was stern talk about a country of cheaters so shot through with a gold-at-all-costs mentality that they countenanced the systematic exploitation of Olympic athletes.

And when they weren’t talking about the United States, they talked some about Russia.

“I join everyone by saying how appalling this is and how appalled as a parent you can be when you read these things,” Adams said to reporters, referring to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case that has consumed USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee. Moments earlier, he had addressed a mild softening of the IOC’s ban on Russian athletes from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, vamping about “democracy and liberty and freedom.”