Beijing Olympics Doping Scandal

The olympic logo

via Wikimedia Commons

The olympic logo

 The figure skating drama caused an uprising and made people wonder why Russia was competing after being banned from global events because of the doping scandal. In December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency blocked Russia from participating in international sports competitions after concluding that Russia had run a sprawling and state-sponsored doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. 

Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the tests in the lab for thousands of Olympians, developed a cocktail that included three drugs banned from the competition and mixed them with liquor, and gave it to dozens of Russian athletes. This was one of the key plays that made this one of the most successful doping scandals in sports history. Some of the people that were involved were 14 members of Russia’s cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who had won two gold medals.  

During the 2022 Winter Olympics held in Beijing, a figure skater by the name of Kamila Valieva participated in her first Olympics at only the age of 15. She was also highly favored for winning the Olympics after her dominating performance in the 2022 European Championships. But after she emerged victorious in her first match, she tested positive for a specific banned heart medication. Though the Russian Anti-Doping Agency temporarily banned Kamila after the results were announced to the public. “The panel considered that preventing the athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in the circumstances,” CAS director-general Matthieu Reeb said. After one day, the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee canceled the suspension, and the Court of Arbitration of Sports finalized the decision and allowed Valieva to continue participating in the Olympics on February 14. The International Olympic Committee stated that if Kamila qualifies for any medal, in any event, there will not be any type of medal ceremony due to drug abuse. 

This also included the team event that Valieva and the Russian Olympic Committee won not too long ago. During the team event, Valieva was the first person to ever land a quadruple jump by a woman in the Olympics. After the astonishing performance by the Russian ice-skating team, the ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) took home the gold medal and is still recognized as the 1st place team despite the scandal. 

“The view of many is that it’s largely superficial,” said Beckie Scott, the Canadian Olympian who had her bronze medal replaced with a gold medal after two Russians tested positive for doping. “It’s particularly disappointing in light of that fact that WADA had the authority and power to impose a much stronger and serious sanction, and they chose not to.”