The Russian Figure Skater And The Beijing Olympics’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ethics Call

I suppose it should not be a surprise that these most unethical of all Olympiads (since the Olympics should never have been held in this totalitarian, ethics-free nation to begin with) would feature the most unethical decision imaginable. If I cared one whit about the disgusting charade in China and who wins what, I might really be upset. As it is, I’m just going to point out, dispassionate, the ethics rot on display.

Fifteen-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva  tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance that improves athletic performance, in the  urine sample that Valieva submitted at the Russian national championship on Christmas. The drug, known as TMZ, is a heart medication that can increase endurance. But the result was not confirmed and relayed to Russian officials or to her for more than six weeks. Russia’s antidoping agency said it learned of the failed test on February 7. On that day, the teen led the Russians to a gold medal in the team event.

Let’s stop right there. She tested positive for a banned substance, and that should have stopped her from competing in the Olympics. It doesn’t matter why the test results were delayed (the Russians cheat, and have always cheated). It doesn’t matter whose fault it was. Valieva was ineligible, and whenever it was discovered that she was ineligible, the only fair and ethical response was to disqualify her. This also meant that her team would be disqualified, because a disqualified skater helped it win the team event.

Ethics can be hard, but this conclusion isn’t hard. It is obvious and irrefutable. Because she shouldn’t have been competing at all, and would not have been had either someone in Russia not cheated or was incredibly incompetent, the skater had no right to be skating, and any athlete or athlete who would have won had she not been illicitly permitted in the Games has been treated unfairly, robbed, cheated, pick your term.

That ought to have been the immediate decision. Instead, Olympic “arbitrators” (Arbitrators are supposed to have impeccable ethics alarms, and not the ethical instincts of Hillary Clinton. Who are these fools?) ruled that Valieva not only wouldn’t be disqualified but could continue competing, but that any medals in any event in which she places the top three will not be awarded. The question of who wins what medal, and whether Valieva wins any, will wait until after her doping case is definitively settled, which may take months. 

Ethics Dunces. Irredeemable cowards. Morons.

So instead of making an obvious call that fulfills basic ethical principles and the absolutism of sports as well as all competitions—if you don’t win fairly, then you lose—the Olympics authorities bent over to touch their noses to their heels to not merely avoid justice for the cheating skater, but to penalize the skaters who did nothing wrong at all.

Added to this is the fact that Russia should not have a “team” of any kind at the Olympics, as the compulsive cheats have been banned from the most recent three Olympics after it conducted a state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. Nonsensically—want to bet whether money changed hands? Russia’s athletes have been allowed to compete with “special permission” as so-called neutral athletes, in this case, as the Russian Olympic Committee. In other words, they are the Russian team under another name. Oh. But the Russian flag cannot be displayed nor can its anthem be played at medal ceremonies. Ooooh, tough one. That will teach ’em. Of course, now there’s a Russian team cheating scandal.

The tortured rationalizations and excuses for letting a doping test-flunking Olympian keep skating are head-blowing. They include:

  • “It wasn’t her fault!” It is not known if Valieva knowingly took a banned drug, but her sample included more than one, all used to treat heart problems. Apologists, based on past cases, argue that it was possible that she had been given the banned drug without her knowledge. So what? Valieva was the beneficiary of cheating. Is the official dodge now that if an athlete’s edge from banned drugs can’t be proven to have been used with his or her knowledge, the cheating doesn’t count? The story has long been that Jack Dempsey won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship by knocking out Jess Willard in 1919 because his trainer, unbeknownst to the fighter, loaded his gloves with a hard substance. Willard suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs, several broken teeth, and a number of deep fractures to his facial bones, but applying the Olympic arbitrator’s rule, Dempsey’s victory was fair and square because he didn’t know he was cheating. Sure, that’s fair. A more recent example is the many metals won by the steroid-loaded East German female swimmers like Kornelia Ender in the Sixties and Seventies. Ender later swore that she and the other girls had no idea that they were being injected with male steroids, causing them to look like Lia Thomas. Is that supposed to make the East German medals legitimate? Apparently that’s what the Olympics call “ethics.”
  • “Think of the children!” Ugh. Because she is younger than 16, Valieva is considered a “protected person” by the World Anti-Doping Agency and therefore is given leeway that her adult competitors are not. If she can show her use of the drug was unintentional, she might receive only a reprimand, and be able to keep her medal or medals.

Then children should not be allowed to compete in the Olympics, if they cannot or are not to be held to the same standards as their competitors. This too is Ethics 101.

  • Saying it makes it so. In its decision yesterday in Beijing, the panel said it had “considered fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm and the balance of interests” between Valieva and the organizations seeking to bar her. Baloney. The decsiion is unfair, disproportionately lenient to the cheating athlete and the bogus team she represents, and does “irreparable harm” to athletes who, unlike the skater and her team, did nothing wrong whatsoever.

“It’s all just so unfair,” said Adam Rippon, the coach of the U.S. figure skater Mariah Bell. “And now it’s also so unfair to all of these ladies because their whole Olympic experience is now wrapped up in the controversy because a country doesn’t want to play by the damn rules.” Yes, that’s about right. Then there is American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was favored to win a medal in the women’s 100 meters, lost her spot on the U.S. team for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo after she tested positive for marijuana. Pot is banned, though unlike the substance found in the Russian skater’s test, it does not enhance performance. Richardson has asked why Valieva is being allowed to compete when Richardson had been forced by U.S. officials to skip the Olympics altogether. Good question, though the answer should be easy.

The people who run these Olympics don’t comprehend ethics, don’t understand ethics, and don’t care about them. If they did, they wouldn’t be involved in Olympics Games in China.

And anyone who has been complicit enough to watch and care about these Games is getting what they deserve,


Sources: New York Times 1, 2, 3, 4.


15 thoughts on “The Russian Figure Skater And The Beijing Olympics’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Ethics Call

  1. I fully expect the next argument for excusing the Russian skater to be: “She’s so good she would have won anyway, so the cheating shouldn’t matter!”This is signature significance for an ethics ignoramus, and is one of the favorite arguments put out by Barry Bonds defenders.

    But I repeat myself.

  2. A bad f*cking joke, anyone involved pretending it’s not probably looks like THIS

    “And anyone who has been complicit enough to watch and care about these Games is getting what they deserve”

    The ones complicit in producing it, and the advertisers, are getting what they deserve…GOOD-N-HARD!

    “Viewership for the start of NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics was down 55.3% from comparable coverage of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games with the opening ceremony sinking to a record low. … Viewership was down 61.4% from the 27.837 million average for the 2018 opening ceremony (a record low) , which was also televised by NBC.”

  3. Typos:
    Double sentence: “The result was not cofirmed…but the result was not confirmed”
    And “In her a urine sample”

    Anyway, I don’t know how Russian competitors can look themselves in the mirror. Not only do they know they cheat, everyone ELSE knows they cheat. They can’t even take satisfaction in a successful deception.

  4. I’ve come to a hypothesis on the situation involving the women’s skaters in Russia. I think the preponderance of the evidence points to Eteri Tutberidze as a very abusive coach. Many former skaters have had crippling injuries, and there are reports that she practically starves her skaters (one reportedly felt full after having TWO shrimp).

    Trimetazidine is approved in Russia for heart conditions, and I’m willing to bet that a number of her skaters may have heart conditions caused by her abusive training regimen – including what amounts to forced starvation. The other substances were NOT banned, and Kamila reported them.

    I’m for clean sport. But there is more than one way to dirty up a sport. Eteri is, in this case, a bigger cancer than the drug issue. Quite frankly, she makes the Karolys look good when it comes to the welfare of the young women they are coaching. She needs to be banned. Period. She would be if she even tried such methods in the USA.

    As for Kamila… I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a heart condition brought about by Eteri’s regimen. She’s being pushed hard to win a gold and set records… then to be discarded when her usefulness to Eteri is ended.

    I have had serious issues with some of the anti-doping measures. I think that suspensions should take place after any and all appeals have run their course, with such appeals coming before an impartial body, and there needs to be VERY strict measures to ensure the confidentiality of the process until the final judgment is in. The results of the tests should be kept confidential before then. You can’t un-leak news of a positive test, even if the test is a “false positive” or when the chain of custody was screwed up. Use Bing or your search engine of choice to look up Jessica Calalang. Her makeup ended up causing a false positive on the drug test.

    Tell me, Jack, which division of WADA does Jessica have to call to get her Olympic dreams and her career back?

    I’ll hearken back to Ryan Braun and MLB. His positive test got leaked before the process was done. Later, an arbitrator found in Braun’s favor (as well as in favor of another MLB player). Why? Because the chain of custody was not maintained. MLB ended up changing the rules BECAUSE of that problem, which calls the positive tests in question.

    Of course, MLB then fired said arbitrator and eventually suspended Braun and other players – some who had NEVER tested positive – after a fishing expedition that seemed like Lavrentiy Beria’s ghost was in charge.

    The case of Sha’Carri Richardson, who was legally using marijuana, and got booted from the games, also comes to mind. Again, if the substance is legal, is it fair to boot someone for using it? Again, no.

    Dealing with doping and PEDs is not easy. But it looks like we’re not even coming up with any sort of fair process involved, it seems unable to stop those determined to cheat, cannot be fair for those who use legal substances, cannot tell the difference between an intentional effort to cheat and unintentional cases (whether it be a contaminated product, a previously unknown metabolic process, or an unintentional oversight), and takes a “guilty until proven innocent” approach.

    It’s even more maddening than wondering why the subject of an Eric Owens article at the Daily Caller couldn’t have been a teacher at MY high school so I could have some “traumatization.”

    [Cues a Van Halen classic]

    • A couple of clarifications:

      1. Sha’Carri Richardson used a substance banned in her sport. Whether it was “legal” pot or not is irrelevant, and her explanation that she used the drug to deal with the trauma of her mother’s death is unpersuasive.

      2. Braun admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. If one confesses to murder, the fact that the murder weapon had a broken chain of custody doesn’t matter. He also lied his head off when he was caught.

      • 1. Was the pot prescribed by a doctor for that? If so, we now get into some of the same realm of a doctor prescribing a medication, only this time pot as opposed to trimetazidine.

        2. Any admission that is coerced after an “investigation” that is guided by the spirit of Lavrentiy Beria is inherently suspect. I don’t care if it’s Trump’s accounting firm vis-a-vis what Letitia James is doing in New York or if it was Braun’s 2013 presser. MLB’s conduct prior to Braun’s admission, including firing the arbitrator who ruled in his favor, might be approved of by Letitia James or Mike Nifong, but it doesn’t create the impression of fairness.

  5. As I said, I deem all participants, active or passive, in this Olympiad to be engaged in treacherous acts that decimate human rights. I have given up on all ‘sports’ professional or otherwise because they are, at every level, iredeemably unethical

  6. “[C]hildren should not be allowed to compete in the Olympics.”

    Truer words…. So much child abuse in training little kids as high-performance athletes.

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