Kamila Valieva’s Scandal, the Ice Skater Who “Ruined” the Games

In the February Beijing Olympics, 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva went onto the ice under the heavy pressure of her home country’s two previous Olympic gold medals. The young skater, almost literally, fell on her face. Slowly, her skating routine, as well as her chance at coming out on top, crumbled one fall and stumble after another. After being so largely expected to win gold, Valieva came in at fourth place in the individual women’s event. The story only gets more dramatic.

Before Valieva performed, it was discovered that she tested positive for a heart drug known as Trimetazidine that had previously been banned in Russia.

In other cases, Olympic athletes would have been disqualified for something like this, so why was Valieva still allowed to perform? The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cleared Valieva to compete because she is considered a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Agency code by virtue of being under 16 years old.
However, other performers “protected” under this code have been disqualified. According to the New York Times, “None of this is the fault of the athlete,” the CAS panel wrote in their report. Apparently, because adequate “evidence was not offered,” Valieva is essentially safe.

It all remains a little bit of a mystery.

News companies including NPR and The Daily Beast said Valieva made a “mockery” of the Olympics and that she “should ruin the games forever”.

Not only does this drama make us think about the integrity of the games but also poses the question of what it truly looks like on the inside of a preparing Olympian’s life.