Olympics update – Russian skater embroiled in doping scandal

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


As the first full week of Olympic action comes to a close in Beijing, the United States has grabbed three gold medals so far, while Russia is embroiled in a drug scandal.

FISM News reported yesterday that snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis won the nation’s first gold of the games in snowboard cross. Later that day, snowboarder Chloe Kim and celebrated figure skater Nathan Chen also topped the podium in their respective events. So far, Team USA has racked up 3 gold medals, 5 silver, and 1 bronze.

Meanwhile, Russia is at the center of another Olympic doping controversy after 15-year-old skating sensation Kamila Valieva, who led her team to gold after nailing a historic quad jump, failed a drug test.

Reports indicated Thursday that the young skater is still training, despite the controversy.

According to a report from ESPN, the drug she tested positive for is trimetazidine. The Russian media is claiming innocence, saying that the drug was administered to treat a heart condition. That drug has been banned since 2014 because it enhances endurance and blood flow, giving athletes a competitive advantage. Russian media further confirmed that she has not been suspended by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

This scandal is the latest blow for Russian Olympic athletes. Russia was officially banned from the Olympics prior to the 2018 Winter Games for widespread “systematic” doping allegations. Russian athletes who can prove they are clean are still allowed to compete but must do so under the moniker ROC. They are also banned from using the Russian flag or national anthem at any point during the games.

At this point, it is unclear if Valieva’s gold medal will be taken away, or if she will be allowed to participate in the women’s figure skating event next week.

The medal ceremony for the team event has been delayed as the IOC determines it next steps in this development.