Despite a Failed Drug Test, Kamila Valieva Was Cleared to Compete at the Olympics
Weeks before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics commenced, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was the favorite to win the gold medal in the individual event. However, that all came to a screeching halt once news broke that the 15-year-old national champion tested positive for a banned substance.
Following the report, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) immediately suspended Kamila; however, the suspension was quickly lifted after she appealed. Not even a week later, Kamila was cleared to compete at the Olympics. How is this fair? Why was Kamila allowed to compete again? Here's everything we know.
Why was Kamila Valieva allowed to compete?
A month before Kamila led Russia to gold in the team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics, she tested positive for trimetazidine at the 2022 Russian Figure Skating Championships.
The drug, known as TMZ, treats angina and other heart-related conditions. Since 2014, it's been on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) list of prohibited substances because, according to Dr. Victoria Glass, it "increases blood flow to the heart" and boosts an individual's endurance.
As previously stated, the RUSADA placed Kamila on suspension after learning about the positive drug test. Once they accepted her appeal, the International Skating Union (ISU), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and WADA opposed, requesting the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to rule with them.
In a shocking turn of events, the CAS refused to suspend Kamila for several reasons, including that at 15 years old, she is a "protected person" under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), suggesting she may not have complete authority over decisions about medications or substances she takes.
Though she's allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics, the IOC followed up by declaring Kamila will not receive a medal if she finishes in the top three spots.
"Should Ms. Valieva finish amongst the top three competitors in the Women’s Single Skating competition, no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony will take place during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," the committee stated on Feb. 14.
Kamila Valieva blames her grandfather's medication for positive drug test.
On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Kamila and her legal team argued that she failed the drug test because a glass of water was contaminated her grandfather's heart medication. Denis Oswald, chair of the International Olympic Committee, spoke with reporters regarding Kamila's claims, stating "her argument was this contamination happened with a product her grandfather was taking."
He added via Today, "She presented elements which brought some doubts about her guilt, and also she was in a very special situation that the Olympic Games take place every four years, and if she would miss the competition at this Games, the damage could not be repaired."
Many following the case have a hard time finding this claim believable, taking to social media to air out their opinions. Several users assumed that Kamila is doing and saying whatever her legal team is telling her.
Others were quick to point out the double standard in allowing Kamila to compete after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug but disqualifying USA sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson from competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics because she tested positive for cannabis.