2022 Winter Olympics: Kamila Valievea scandal, fallout

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics has been quite the experience for both the athletes and the viewers. From doping scandals to making history, the Olympics has been a journey. 

Arguably the most dramatic event from this Olympics has been the doping incident with 15-year-old Kamila Valievea, an up-and-coming figure skater who holds several world records. Valievea’s drug test from Dec. 25 came back positive for Olympic-banned drug trimetazidine. However, the text was not flagged until six weeks later, after Valievea had already competed in the team competition and placed gold. A panel of judges was formed to determine if Valievea would still be allowed to compete. The panel determined that Valievea could still compete, but whether or not she could keep her medals is still to be determined. The process may not be finalized for months, after the investigation is completed and any possible appeals. 

Valievea is a “protected athlete” due to her age in the World Anti-Doping Code rule book. This shifts the blames from her to her entourage including her coach, trainers, nutritionists, etc. Many supporters are not blaming Valievea for the incident, but rather her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, who seems to have athletes who dominate the industry while young, but have short careers and a tendency for serious injuries. 

However, during the women’s figure free skating event, Valievea stumbled during her routine and ended up in fourth place. Valievea was inconsolable after her performance. But because Valieva did not place, there will be a medal ceremony. 

US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson tested positive for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main compound in cannabis. Richardson said in a tweet, “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of [Valievea’s] situation and mines? My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady.” This inconsistency of their ruling has led to a lot of people questioning the fairness of the International Olympic Committee. 

Many figure skaters are hoping the Olympic doping scandal will focus on other issues, such as pushing up the minimum age of competitors and addressing the pressing issue of body image, body shaming, and disordered eating. Skating officials have proposed raising the minimum age for figure skating competitions to 17. The younger and less developed bodies of these skaters are not built to handle the pressure and training that many people push on the athletes. Many former figures skaters have shared their story of disordered eating. 

Many people believe that the scandals form the 2022 Winter Olympics is actually good for the Chinese government because it draw attention away from allegations and confrontations concerning the genocide of Uyghur Muslims and the International Olympic Committee’s claims that the Games should be “free of politics.”

For more information about Kamila Valievea’s story and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, visit the AP news website