Russian Figure Skater Allowed to Compete After Testing Positive in Banned Substance

Jasmine Mejia, Editorial Writer

Russian Figure Skater Still Allowed to Compete at Beijing Olympics After Testing Positive for a Banned Substance
Jasmine Mejia

The 2022 Olympics were in Beijing. Russian Figure Skater, Kamila Valieva, was tested positive for drugs on February seventh, six weeks after she submitted her sample at the Russian national championship. One of the drugs she tested positive for is trimetazidine, a banned substance. Her participation in the Olympics is a debate but since she is under the age of 16 she was protected from anti-doping rules because she is a minor and they are subject to lesser penalties depending on the crime. Therefore, allowing her to compete in the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

“In a sample taken on December 25, the 15-year-old skater tested positive for trimetazidine, a medication for heart-related conditions that is banned due to the potential for performance enhancement… the International Olympic Committee was not informed of the results until February 8,” wrote Erin Vanderhoof, a staff writer at Vanity Fair.

Understanding that the Olympic Committee was not informed of the results until after the first Figure Skating events took place it is clear why Valieva was able to compete at first. After the results came in it became unclear why she was not banned from competing considering she was tested positive for a banned substance. Athletes before her have been banned from competing in the Olympics due to positive results for banned substances so her continued participation seems unfair.

Vanity Fair’s Erin Vanderhoof wrote that, “in a shocking move, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that, due in part to her age, Valieva should be allowed to skate.”

Her age should not have been used as a factor to determine whether or not she should or should not have been allowed to skate. Despite her age, trimetazidine is banned by global antidoping officials since it helps perform at a higher heart rate for a longer period of time. Seeing as it increases endurance it gave Valieva an unfair advantage in her performances.

The New York Times stated, “Valieva tested positive for two more substances sometimes meant to assist the heart. Unlike trimetazidine, the other substances—Hypoxen and L-carnitine—are not banned.”

Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said “[the combination of all three substances] seem[s] to be aimed at increasing endurance, reducing fatigue and promoting greater efficiency in using oxygen.”

Valieva had previously blamed her grandpa’s medication for her contamination of it. Although this could still be true it is pretty hard to believe due to the fact that two other drugs, which aren’t banned, in her system. Her innocence in this case is questionable, especially since Tygart mentioned that all three drugs can help performance. With what Tygart mentioned Valieva should not have been able to compete since these drugs in her system gave her an unfair advantage which every other competitor didn’t have.