Antivax, esotericism and mysterious pyramid: Novak Djokovic, follower of pseudosciences

The standoff continues between Novak Djokovic and Australian justice. The tennis player, unvaccinated, admitted Wednesday, January 12 in an Instagram post to have committed “Errors” after testing positive for Covid-19 on December 16.

The world number one did not consider it necessary to postpone a meeting with journalists from the daily The team two days later. “I felt compelled to continue and to do the L’Équipe interview because I didn’t want to let the journalist down”, he justified himself.

→ EXPLANATION. Novak Djokovic, vaccination and Australia: the reasons for a diplomatic incident

Novak Djokovic also pleaded “Human error” for having incorrectly completed the entry form to Australia. The player certifies not to have traveled in the 14 days preceding his arrival in the Antipodes. A period during which he nevertheless found himself in Serbia and then in Spain.

This false declaration earned him the cancellation of his visa, obtained thanks to a medical exemption allowing him to participate without being vaccinated at the Australian Open from January 17 to 30. This cancellation had itself been revoked by the Australian justice on Monday January 10.

Vaccine skepticism

Behind this politico-judicial imbroglio, there is the vagueness that has long surrounded the vaccination status of Novak Djokovic. The world number one has never hidden his skepticism towards vaccination.Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I would not want to be forced by someone to have a vaccine in order to be able to travel ”, he said in April 2020 on Facebook.

→ ANALYSIS. The Djokovic case raises the question of the vaccination status of athletes

The Serbian champion is also known for his controversial positions vis-à-vis science. Adept of a gluten-free diet – a diet he defends in his book Winning service. Gluten-free food for perfect physical and mental health -, the 34-year-old player has never hidden his attraction for alternative medicines and pseudosciences.

In spring 2020, Novak Djokovic for example hosted a live Instagram with Chervin Jafarieh, well-being guru and boss of the food supplement brand Cymbiotika. The Serbian player said: I have seen people and I know people who through energetic transformation, the power of prayer, the power of gratitude, manage to transform the most toxic foods and the most polluted water into the most purifying. “

Novak Djokovic thus echoed the theory of Masaru Emoto, doctor of alternative medicine, according to which thought can have an impact on the structure of water. A theory more than controversial and which has never been validated by the scientific community. The champion and his wife Jelena are also followers of the Steiner-Waldorf pedagogy, named after the Austrian author Rudolf Steiner, theorist of anthroposophy. This esoteric ideology mixes concepts from different religions and considers that the world is moved by spiritual forces.

Esoteric pilgrimages

The pilgrimages of the Serbian in the small town of Visoko in Serbia are also talking. In 2005, Semir Osmanagic, a Serbian businessman, claims that the hill overlooking the village is actually a pyramid built by a technologically superior civilization. Novak Djokovic is going there in 2020 and says he felt “Regenerated”. Since then, tourism has exploded in the village, to the delight of Semir Osmanagic.

→ MAINTENANCE. Bronner report: “The Covid-19 revealed forms of conspiracy in certain Catholic fringes”

Convinced that his beliefs play a role in his many successes, the player with twenty major titles is not yet out of the woods. The Australian immigration minister can still cancel his visa permanently, preventing him from taking part in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season.



Albert Corey, the mysterious Olympic medalist of 1904

Errors or inaccuracies are not uncommon in the tablets of the first editions of the Modern Games, relaunched by Pierre de Coubertin in 1896. That concerning Albert Corey would have remained in the folds of the ledger of the rings without the work of two men: Clément Genty, municipal councilor of the city of Meursault (Côte-d’Or), eager to pay tribute to all the illustrious Murisaltiens. And the journalist Manuel Desbois, who relayed the first in the local daily The public good the astonishing story of Albert Corey, French medalist under the American flag at the Saint-Louis Games of 1904.

The Europeans having been very few to make this distant trip, the participants were mostly Americans, like him. At least that’s what the organizers believed, who referenced him as well, with a fault in his name, Coray instead of Corey. But Clément Genty’s research, soon published in a book prefaced by Guy Drut, reestablishes the truth (1). “At my request on December 18, 2020, the Olympic Studies Center (CEO) confirmed the French nationality of Albert Corey”, writes this member of the International Olympic Committee, who promised in January to set the record straight. No effect to date on the organization’s website, where Albert Corey remains registered as an American.

Chicago slaughterhouse strikebreaker

Yet he was indeed French, and even a sergeant major in the Eighth Chasseur Regiment, before deserting in 1903 and embarking for America. There he became a strike breaker (temporary employee used to replace strikers) at the slaughterhouses of Chicago, a city originally intended to organize the Games. Albert Corey, who had already carved out a good reputation as a runner in France during his military engagement, quickly made the heyday of the athletic club in the capital of Illinois. To the point of being sent to avenge the colors of Chicago in Saint-Louis, city of the Games shunned by their creator Pierre de Coubertin.

He could have set the record straight about Corey’s nationality, had he been present. But furious with the choice of Saint-Louis and the methods of selection, he had refused to make the trip. “In these Games, everything is incredible, the athletes were not referenced according to their nationality but that of their club, hence the error concerning Albert Corey”, explains city councilor Clément Genty, engineer and associate researcher at the National School of Arts and Crafts.

The winner downgraded for borrowing a car

Corey was one of the few to cover the 40 km at the time (the 42.195 km were definitively in effect from the Paris Games in 1924), drinking very little since the organizers had decided to conduct a scientific study on dehydration. He finished in a decent third place and climbed one step further thanks to the disqualification of the winner. Who had borrowed a car for a few kilometers because he was ” tired “, according to his statements at the time.

Fresh as a roach after the 40 kilometers, Albert Corey was not, like the American gold medalist, convicted of doping with strychnine and… brandy, administered by officials who supported him in the last meters. Adorned with silver during the marathon of these Games, which were the first to introduce medals, he did it again in another event, the 4-mile team. He gleaned the white metal again alongside his… American teammates.

The rest is less glorious. Back at the Chicago slaughterhouses, he remained in the fridge surveillance service before being dismissed and returning to France, where the deserter was mysteriously reinstated in the army. He died in 1926, leaving companionship and descendants on both sides of the Atlantic. “This is what I taught his French family at the same time as I told them about Corey’s exploits”, says the researcher, who had trouble convincing her to speak out about this ancestor. Of which she ignored the Olympic glory like the double life.


France in the club of three thanks to him

With 239 podiums out of 280 possible, the United States crushed the meager competition at the 1904 Games. If it does not change much for them, the silver medal of Albert Corey reassigned to France allows that – here to join the club of the three medal-winning countries at all the Games, alongside Australia and the United Kingdom. The United States, which largely dominates the Olympic charts, is not, because of its boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980.