• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Jan 29, 2024, 6:27pm EST
icon

Semafor Signals

Banning of Russian child skater Kamila Valieva throws spotlight on doping of minors

Insights from The Wall Street Journal, Slate, The Guardian

Arrow Down
REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

Teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport Monday over a positive drugs test ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in a case that has cast a spotlight on the doping of minors.

After testing positive months before the competition, the then 15-year old Valieva went on to assist the Russian Olympic Committee in winning a team gold medal, with her suspension now throwing the results of the Olympic figure skating competition into limbo.

AD

With Valieva subject to a retroactive ban dating from December 2021, the United States may now move up a place to take gold, and Japan silver – but any reallocation of medals is in the hands of the International Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union, which are expected to decide shortly.

A Kremlin spokesperson slammed Valieva’s ban as “politicized”.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Doping of minors in frame as figure skating world seeks to raise competition age

Source icon
Sources:  
The Wall Street Journal, Slate, Sports Illustrated

“The doping of children is unforgivable,” the World Anti-Doping Agency said in response to Valieva’s case, amid calls for stronger action to target coaches and doctors who provide illegal performance-enhancing substances to minors, a practice widely seen as abuse. Since 2012, the agency has reported 1416 minors testing positive for banned substances, according to The Wall Street Journal. In 2021 it introduced the category of “protected persons”, providing for different sanctions for minors or those without legal capacity who dope.

The figure skating world should raise the minimum competition age from 15 to 18, “for the health of the athletes and for the health of their sport”, which suffers from “teen turnover,” Sports Illustrated argued. Youth advocates say Valieva could not have taken the banned heart medication trimetazidine without adult direction. By allowing her temporary participation in 2022 following the positive test announcement, international associations have “vindicated her abusers, emboldening them to use further unthinkable methods,” one Slate contributor wrote.

Banning of a world great adds to Russia’s sporting woes

Source icon
Sources:  
The Guardian, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal

The banning of a figure skater that The Guardian’s chief sports reporter mooted as “perhaps the greatest female skater in history” is another blow to Russia’s athletes, whose ability to compete on the world stage has been severely stymied over doping scandals and Moscow’s war in Ukraine. After being forced to compete under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee in Beijing over a state-sponsored drugs scandal, that team was banned from taking part in the Olympics last October after it recognized regional organizations in annexed parts of Ukraine. In the Paris Olympics this summer, athletes from Russia who qualify in their sport will have to compete as neutrals without flags, emblems or anthems, the International Olympic Committee said in December. Nearly 70 athletes, 45 of them Summer Olympians, have switched country allegiances from Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, signing antiwar declarations in pursuit of new citizenship, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Semafor Logo
AD