Home » Kamila Valiyeva and doping in Russia: At the expense of children

Kamila Valiyeva and doping in Russia: At the expense of children

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Kamila Valiyeva and doping in Russia: At the expense of children

The only positive thing about Russian figure skater Kamila Valiyeva’s doping scandal? No, not the sample from December 25, 2021, in which the heart drug trimetazidine was found. Kamila Valiyeva, the best figure skater in Russia of the past five to ten years, the best in the world during this period, will turn 18 in April. She is still not even of legal age. For this reason alone, cynicism is forbidden. But the forces at the center of this scandal worked with so much cynical contempt that it exemplifies the abusive treatment of children who are primed for top performance.

Therefore, the only positive news is: Kamila Valiyeva has been banned for four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and the Russian figure skating team will lose the gold medal won at the Winter Olympics in Beijing (and, after deducting Valiyeva’s contribution, will receive bronze).

Who doped the child?

And now? Is this ban the blow to child doping that the World Anti-Doping Agency sees it as? It would be so if there were answers to the following questions: Who was the doctor who doped the child Kamila Valiyeva with a cocktail that included not only the banned trimetazidine, but also L-carnitine and hypoxene? Who is pursuing the doctor, who is blocking him? Or was there no doctor behind it? Who else? And what does the verdict mean for the treatment of Valiyeva’s coach Eteri Tutberidze, who has driven more successful underage jumping wonders into high-performance figure skating in the past fifteen years up to 2022 than other Russian training factories?

Trainer Eteri Tutberidze (left) and Kamila Waliyeva, here in December 2023 in Chelyabinsk: Image: picture alliance/dpa/TASS

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Tutberidze is the coach who shouted in Beijing after Valiyeva fell twice in the Olympic individual free program under the pressure of the positive test that had become known: “Why did you give everything out of your hands like that? Why did you stop fighting? Explain to me!” She is the coach who, like no other, delivers what Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin demands, the continuation of “our legendary tradition of national figure skating”: victories for Russia, at any cost.

What does this ruling, which must be read as evidence of continued doping even among Russian children beyond the discovery of state doping fraud after the 2014 Winter Games, mean for the treatment of figure skaters from Russia? They are still excluded from competitions by the International Ice Skating Union (ISU) due to the war of aggression against Ukraine. But depending on the situation, the International Olympic Committee will demand for the 2026 Winter Games in Italy what should apply to summer athletes in Paris this year.

Sandra Schmidt Published/Updated: Recommendations: 3 Published/Updated: Recommendations: 17 Roland Zorn, Kaunas Published/Updated: Recommendations: 4

The stage is then clear for “individual neutral” Tutberidze students who are already beating Valiyeva in competitions in Russia? It would be the third Olympic victory in a row for Eteri Tutberidze. Their athletes must then be at least 17 years old, which is what the ISU requires – instead of the minimum age of 15 – as a result of the manipulation. This is not enough to provide comprehensive protection for minors from exploitation. With the ban on Kamila Valiyeva alone, not a single question asked has been answered. This enduring darkness surrounding a doped child on the biggest stage in their sport is at the heart of the scandal.

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Flowers for Kamila Valiyeva: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) in April 2022: Image: Picture Alliance

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