Kamila Valieva was just a figurine in a game between nations


Kamila Valieva was just a pawn in the game of nations.

Kamila Valieva was just a pawn in the game of nations.
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What a farce the International Olympic Committee has made from this year’s Games. By failing to impose real sanctions against Russia for institutionalizing a covert doping program in Sochi, and by not ruling out an athlete who tested positive for a banned substance, we witnessed the strangest Olympic spectacles on Thursday.

15-year-old Kamila Valieva, the next-level skater at the center of controversy after getting three different heart medications in her test sample, burst into tears after taking the medals in the free-skating competition after coming first. finished in the short program for women. Her failure to earn a medal in the free skate was the sole reason the event was able to hold a medal ceremony at the games after the Court of Arbitration ruled that Valieva could still participate because of her age and the irreparable damage that would be caused. if she wasn’t skating.

As for the irreparable damage that the Court tried to avoid, that ship has departed. It was clear from the look on Valieva’s face that this teen will never be the same again.

Even IOC president Thomas Bach noted how icy the Russian entourage was for Valieva after she went from favorite to fourth in the free skate.

“Instead of comforting her, instead of trying to help her, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance‘ said Bach

The skating community is outraged by the events. Because even though the rules to ensure a clean competition can be cumbersome, every other skater complied and did not have a positive test.

Here is a good explanation of ABC about how we got here.

From ESPN’s Report about the test: “Valieva has claimed that the trimetazidine entered her system by accident. But the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a brief statement saying that two other substances it admitted to have used, L-carnitine and Hypoxen — although both legal — undermined the argument that a banned substance was inadvertently ingested.”

If the IOC really wants to prevent irreparable harm to young skaters like Valieva, it must completely eliminate the incentive for federations and athletes to use doping. It’s very easy. If someone like Valieva continues to skate, it puts other young athletes at risk.

But there’s a bigger problem, and that’s how the IOC deals with countries that constantly test the fences for doping rules, or have poor human rights records.

Russia, which happens to be conducting military exercises on Ukraine’s borders, has a history of pushing boundaries when it comes to fair competition. Instead of taking a hard approach when: the nation traded dirty urine samples for clean ones in Sochi, the IOC “banned” Russia but allowed Russian athletes to compete under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee. What is the difference between Russia and the Russian Olympic Committee? Apparently not enough to stop 15-year-olds from testing positive for banned heart drugs.

But this is all part of a bigger problem. The IOC can only persuade so many liberal democracies to host the Olympics today. Instead, you have more authoritarian countries like Russia and China that can use the game to play for international audiences, as well as a show of strength for their own citizens. There is nothing quite like a show of force than detained tennis player Peng Shuai in the stands to retract her allegation of sexual abuse against a Chinese official.

There is no way to keep politics out of the Olympics. The Olympics were based on politics, to spread international cooperation and the concept of fair play and mutual understanding. But when anti-doping rules don’t apply uniformly, and when potential human rights abuses are overlooked in the name of ignoring politics, we’re straying from the purpose the Olympics have so beautifully tried to serve.

It wasn’t that long ago that Olympic athletes were expected to be amateurs, and professionals in the major American sports were barred from the game for that reason.

The system of amateurism is of course classistic and exclusive, but there is a middle ground between that and doing business with authoritarian-oriented regimes because they make the highest bid.

Plenty of liberal democracies can’t justify the cost of building the infrastructure needed to host a one-off event. A look at the cost of an Olympics reveals that the 2016 Rio Olympics cost $11.1 billion and lost $2 billion to Brazil. So the question is, what does a nation get for that money?

When the answer is: a display of power and authority that works for an external and internal audience, $2 billion may seem reasonable.

Young skaters are just pawns in the bigger Games.

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