Doping: what does the green light for Kamila Valieva mean?

Despite testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on Monday that Russian figure skating star Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete for another Olympic gold in Beijing. However, even if she wins there will be no ceremony for the 15-year-old. Commentators point to fundamental problems with the way minors are treated in competitive sport.

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Sme (SK) /

A victim, not a perpetrator

Sme shows understanding for the decision:

“Let's face it, it's unlikely that a teenager would find instructions for experimenting with the heart medication trimetazidine on Tik-Tok. So the suspicions fall on the team entrusted with taking care of the 15-year-old. ... Teenage athletes are easy to find in countries that see collecting medals as part of the struggle for power. ... And no one is heartbroken when they fail to turn up at the next championship or Olympic Games, when they disappear after a brief career, mentally and physically broken. Such a state of affairs is reminiscent of a war with 15-year-old child soldiers.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Green light for Russia's prodigy!

Commenting in the Echo of Moscow, author Dmitry Bykov is delighted:

“Like any child prodigy, Valieva transcends the laws of nature with her quadruple jumps. ... She achieves the impossible, which effectively means: Russia remains Russia. As [chess grandmaster] Joël Lautier brilliantly put it: For a difficult task, call a Chinese person, for an impossible one, call a Russian. You can harp on about the doping test, blame the coaches and doctors, and even point out mistakes with complete justification - but stopping Valieva now would be a worse mistake with unforeseeable consequences, including political ones. The CAS's decision will still be criticised and challenged, but now it is in force - one of those historic decisions that lift the spirits of an entire country for a long time.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Sport as a dangerous space

Instead of having another discussion about doping, fair competition and clean sport, we should actually be talking about something completely different, emphasises the taz:

“About sport as a dangerous space for adolescents. Mental pressure, brutal training methods for adolescents that can have the effect of delaying puberty, or problematic relationships of trust between young people and their coaches that can culminate in sexualised violence - these are the issues that sport has to deal with.”