Should Kamila Valieva Have Been Allowed to Compete in the Olympics?

Sienna Yang, Pawprint Staff Reporter

Whether a person is a hardcore sports fan or just an occasional enjoyer, everyone knows that using drugs to enhance performance is frowned upon, heavily forbidden, and generally just bad sportsmanship. This is doubly true in the Olympics, where athletes have trained their entire lives to participate in the bi-annual international competition.

An excellent example of what happens when someone breaks these codes is the 2016 Summer Olympics, where Russia was exposed and banned for a widespread doping scandal, leading to the suspension of 68 athletes. 

After their suspension, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was created and recognized separate from Russia. The 2022 Winter Olympics sent in 214 athletes, one of which is now under heavy fire for a doping incident. 

Kamila Valieva is 15-years-old, and even before she debuted on Olympic ice, she was already a fan favorite to win gold. In her short program, a program lasting 2 minutes and 40 seconds, Valiyeva became the first woman to do a quad (a jump with four rotations) in the Olympics, effectively making history. 

During this year’s competition, Valieva was exposed for testing positive on a drug test before the Olympics. There were three drugs she tested positive for; two legal and one banned. The combination of the three seemed to increase endurance and prevent fatigue. 

It is unclear if she willingly took the drugs or if the adults around her pressured her into taking them.

The court, before the Olympics, ruled that Valieva should be allowed to skate because they were worried about the impact on her mental health if she was allowed to compete.

After her free skate (a program lasting 4 minutes), people begin to wonder if the court made the right choice. Valieva missed some of her jumps during the skate and left the program upset and frustrated. When the scores were announced, she broke into tears, dropping her from first after the short program to fourth. 

Valieva’s score not only affected her but affected her teammates as well. Silver medalist Alexandra Trusova was angry, brushing off her coach and speaking harshly in Russian. Gold medalist Anna Scherbakova looked lost as the scores were being called and celebrated, standing up and sitting back down again as if unsure of what to do. 

In addition to her teammates’ emotional response, commentators and Olympic officials also said that if Valieva were to place on the podium, they would have to reconsider what would happen to the medalists- there may not have been a podium at all.

If Valieva wasn’t allowed to compete, this could have been prevented. However, if she hadn’t been allowed to compete, who’s to say what would have happened then?