A spotlight on doping at the Olympics
The Olympics are all about athletes, athletes who are doing their best for the moment to compete in front of the world. It’s something every athlete has been waiting for since he was little: the most critical performance of his life. An important rule in the Olympics is that no performance-enhancing substances of any kind may be used. The Olympic Committee conducts drug tests on every athlete to ensure everyone is playing fair. In 1967, the IOC banned all forms of steroids at the Olympics. The ban was to prevent any form of misconduct during the games.
As Kate Hartman, a spokeswoman for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, put it: “For us, it’s less about medals and more about protecting the sanctity of fair and clean sport and holding accountable those who don’t uphold Olympic values.” While it may be a simple rule not to use drugs, young athletes find it more difficult to follow. There have been multiple doping scandals over the years that have made headlines, with viewers left heartbroken that their favorite athlete has used a form of steroids.
At the most recent Winter Olympics, Kamila Valieva was allowed to compete even after failing a doping test in December 2021. Although she was able to compete and could easily have climbed onto the podium, it was decided that she would not receive any medals until her case. She Settled While this particular case is quite sad (since it is rumored that Ella Valieva did not know she took the drugs), this is not the first doping case involving Russia.
In 2016, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov denounced Russia’s state doping program, revealing the darkness behind a program he had participated in. This revelation led to Russia’s outright ban from the 2018 Winter Olympics and intensified the debate about corruption in sports. . Russia was banned from participating in any Olympic events until 2022, causing Russian athletes to wonder what their fate would be. Fortunately, this led to the creation of the Republic of China, a solution for Russian athletes who have proven that they were not connected to the doping scandal in order to continue competing. While this may seem like a perfect solution, there are multiple flaws in this plan that have created controversy.
While I fully support the ROC idea, allowing athletes to still have a chance to get on the podium is great; ROC is not as trustworthy as they try to convince you. The ROC says all competing athletes test negative. We see with Kamila that this is not entirely true. Athletes can easily fail a drug test when they are sure they will pass. This may be a minor issue for some, but the big picture of this effect is much bigger.
The fact that Kamila Valieva failed her drug tests showed the world that Russia did not and still did not take her ban seriously and understood her reasoning. We don’t know how Russia was able to pass drug tests when they were using drugs, so how is the olympic committee supposed to trust ROC? This is not just about Russia’ messing up This is the next time a country does this. Because Russia has gotten away with cheating and can still send their athletes to the Olympics, this sets a precedent that it’s okay for countries to use performance-enhancing drugs because what will happen? If a country receives a worse punishment, you can say that it is receiving a raw deal and use the ROC as a perfect example.
Another problem caused by the Russian doping scandal was the involvement of the media. Valeiva’s situation has created a strong controversy within the Olympic Committee and the public. As mentioned above, it is rumored that Valeiva was unaware of the drugs in his system. Even if Valevia was aware of the drug use, she is not to blame. Her and ROC coaches are. David Howman, former head of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), wanted to bring this to the public. “If the sample was taken…before the Games, why didn’t RUSADA (Russian anti-doping agency) pressure the Swedish lab to get the results?” However, the media doesn’t find that side of the story so interesting when they can dismiss her story as a ‘legitimately trapped power-hungry teenager’.
“By not banning Russia for four years, there was no need or desire for a cultural change on the part of the Russian authorities… By allowing Russia a free pass, these organizations have seriously defrauded all athletes in Russia because it is the always”. This is what Rob Koehler, the former WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) MP, had to say about the situation, and he couldn’t be more right.
The Olympic Committee and many others do not realize that there could be other unknown cases like Valeiva’s that have gone unnoticed. The Russian Olympic Committee does not play fair, and while for some it may just be a sporting event, it is their livelihood and their passion for those athletes. Furthermore, for young athletes who find themselves in a situation similar to that of Valeiva, it is criminal.
A deeper dive into the Republic of China
NBC report on Kamila Valieva