Following a hearing over the weekend the Russian Olympic Committee athlete, Kamila Valieva, who tested positive for a banned substance will be allowed to compete in the women’s figure skating individual event this week. The decision is controversial to say the least.
Valieva tested positive for a substance called trimetazidine, a heart stimulant essentially, on December 25 of 2021 but the lab who is responsible for analyzing the results – for some very shady reason – only reported this result to the Olympic committee late last week after Valieva had already competed in the team competition.
Though Valieva had clean blood tests in Beijing, Olympic athletes are not able to use performance enhancing substances to train within certain time parameters of competition. Valieva’s positive test fell within the required reporting time frame. All Olympic athletes are meant to train with their natural abilities only.
Though the committee is allowing Valieva to compete they have not yet decided if she will be disqualified. Her case will have to undergo a more thorough investigation. What it means is there will be no medals officially awarded in Beijing until the conclusion of the investigation.
Because Valieva is 15 and a minor, she faces less stringent doping rules than other athletes. Issues like her future and mental health are weighed into the decisions made by the Olympic committee. But by allowing her to compete many raise the question: will this not encourage repeat bad actors like Russia to target minors with their dangerous and illegal doping program?
Additionally a lot of people are comparing this decision to the decision to eliminate other athletes like those who were disqualified during this Olympics for tiny infractions to their uniforms and at the Summer Olympics when Sh’Carri Richardson was famously disqualified for smoking marijuana (which is not performance enhancing)
If ultimately Valieva is disqualified, the Russian Olympic Committee will forfeit their team Gold which will be awarded to the United States. Any medals she temporarily wins in the individual competition will go to her runner up.