Russia involved in another cheating scandal

As the 2022 Winter Olympic Games come to a close, Russia is amid another cheating scandal. This trial began in the 2014 Winter Games when the team was accused of being a part of a cheating scheme. The team was said to have doctored drug-tested data to hinder the drugs athletes on their team were taking. 


The International Olympic Committee banned Russia from three games, including the games that just took place in Beijing. Russian athletes were allowed to compete in this year’s Olympic Games because they are considered to be competing under the ‘Russian Olympic Committee’ which in turn allows them to compete with their country’s name but follows the Olympic Committee’s ban by not being able to wear the national flag of Russia or sing the Russian national anthem. 


Although, this loophole, that allowed Russian athletes to again compete, did not stop the Russian athletes, again, from using forbidden drugs during competitions. Fifteen-year-old Kamila Valieva, who made Olympic history by landing two quadruple jumps in the women’s Olympic free skate routine, is now in question. Valieva tested positive for a heart drug called trimetazidine. This drug, although used for heart conditions, is known to boost athletes’ stamina and blood efficiency. 


The United States Anti-Doping Agency says that trimetazidine was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list in 2014. Additionally, in 2015, this drug was banned for use even outside of competition because of its power as a metabolic modulator. 


A further WADA prohibited drug, meldonium, was detected in Russian curler, Alexander Krushelnitsky’s system during the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Krushelnitsky and his team were then stripped of their bronze medal. 

Given Valieva’s age, the World Doping Agency Code protects her as a protected person. Anyone under the age of sixteen is considered a protected person under WADA’s code. This poses a positive for the young figure skater because if she can prove her use of trimetazidine was unintentional she would face a mere warning, in place of a maximum two-year suspension.