OPINION | Olympians using performance-enhancing drugs is cheating

The 2022 Winter Olympics were held in Beijing, China. Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash.

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Performance-enhancing drugs should disqualify anyone from the Olympics.

15-year-old Russian figure skater, Kamila Valieva, was caught doping at the 2022 Winter Olympics. She was drug tested on Dec. 25 at the Russian Figure Skating Championships. However, it was not until Feb. 8, eight weeks later during the Beijing Olympic Games, the positive result was reported. 

Why did they wait to report the positive test result? It was so she had time to compete in the Olympic games and win a medal, which she did. A day before the scandal came out she secured a team gold medal for Russia. 

According to Olympic officials, Valieva was caught with a drug called Trimetazidine, also known as TMZ, in her system. This drug is supposed to treat chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart. However, she was using it to increase the blood flow in her body to raise her heart rate to a faster pace. This then increases cardiac duration and improves cardiac performance. The adults around her most likely pressured her into doing these drugs, or she was given them without consent. This is what helped her land the historical first quadruple jump.

During the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics U.S. sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson, was suspended for one month because marijuana showed up on her drug test. She claimed it was a coping mechanism for her mother’s unexpected passing. Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. According to NBC, “Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana — is not known for increasing the athletic prowess of those who consume it. Typically, it’s high relaxes people.”

I have mixed thoughts on marijuana. If it is as bad as using prescription drugs it would not be legal in as many places as it is. Marijuana is legal in her state, and she was old enough to obtain it legally. She had no right to be suspended. The THC found in Richardson’s system would have hindered her ability to run at the speed she would need to earn a gold medal. Especially when she was not the first to be caught with drugs in her system and they were not performance-enhancing drugs. 

Valieva is a minor which is why she got away with doping. There is also the fact that Russia waited to report the findings of the drug test that could have changed the mind of the officials who decided she didn’t deserve to be suspended.

Adam Rippon made a comment on Twitter about the doping situation. Rippon brings up good points about a very strict list of what medication can be taken while being an Olympic athlete. When you’re reporting your prescribed medication, TMZ is not on this list of eligible medications. Valieva should be banned, especially knowing she was taking a medication on the list of banned prescription drugs.