February 15, 2022

Another Russian Olympic Doping Scandal

Despite being cleared to skate in the Olympics, the ROC is notorious for drug infractions.

Kamila Valieva, 15-year-old skater from Russia, was the first woman to land a quadruple Salchow in an Olympic competition. This move is incredibly difficult and requires a lot a strength. Valieva earned 30 more points than the next place contestant in the free skate (a significant margin). Her score was a major factor in the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) winning gold in the team figure skating competition.

Unfortunately, Valieva subsequently tested positive for a banned substance. That substance was a heart medication called trimetazidine, which can enhance endurance and blood flow, giving a figure skater an edge in competition. She is cleared to compete for now, but depending on the formal ruling of the National Olympic Committee, her medals and those of her team may be taken away.

The fact that Valieva is cleared to compete is suspicious in and of itself. She failed a drug test. Could this signal further corruption in the International Olympic Committee? It’s bad enough that the IOC allowed the Games to even be held in Beijing, China — a communist country infamous for its concentration camps and Uyghur genocide — but allowing an ROC skater to continue to compete in spite of a positive drug test stinks to high heaven.

One source makes the point that Valieva is a minor, a child for all intents and purposes. She most likely didn’t know what she was being asked to take or why. This would follow the pattern of behavior that is characteristic of the Russian bloc both during the Cold War and more recently at the 2014 Games in Sochi.

The communist-era Soviet Union (USSR) began participating in the Olympics in the 1950s, and it absolutely dominated. At 13 of the 18 Olympic Games before the USSR collapsed in 1991, it ranked No. 1 in medal wins. Similarly suspicious, East Germany was using steroids and hormones to edge out the competition, though it was hardly alone.

Russia was banned from competing in the Olympics after the 2014 Games on its home turf due to the amount of doping its athletes were doing, though the ban lost its sting when the IOC let the Russian athletes compete in future Games (just not under their own flag).

Russia has a long, shameful history of using its athletes to win no matter the consequences. And if that means lacing them with drugs to give them an unfair advantage, so be it. The young skater Valieva is only 15, and yet she was using heart medicine? Hmph. Athletes are merely pawns to gain international acclaim, not people, not someone’s daughter. Valieva is a tool of the state.

This latest Russian doping scandal prompts a serious question: Why are these athletes from the ROC still allowed to compete? They have proven over and over that they will not play fair.

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