► “We cannot tax the CIO with laxity”
Bruno Genevois, State Councilor, former President of the French Anti-Doping Agency
Regarding the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), rendered at first instance, it should be noted that Kamila Valieva is a minor. The first instance judgment of the CAS is enlightening on this point. He insists that she is a protected person under the latest version of the World Anti-Doping Code, which mitigates her liability without removing it.
The rule remains that all athletes are responsible for the substances found in a sample of their urine. In addition, her status as a minor is taken into consideration in the absence of publicity of a possible sanction, which would be covered by anonymity because of her age.
→ CONTEXT. Beijing Olympics: skater Kamila Valieva, suspected of doping, authorized to continue the competition
The judges of the court decided not to suspend her in order to let her try her luck. This is undoubtedly what provokes debate. Moreover, this decision leaves open the possibility of a subsequent sanction, all the more so since the CAS decision is rendered in the first instance and is subject to appeal. Let’s not forget that an athlete has the right to defend himself, to present pieces. It is to the honor of sports justice, of which the CAS is the supreme authority.
It should be noted that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) intervened against the sportswoman and that the substance detected in her urine – trimetazidine – is a drug administered to adults suffering from heart problems, and not to minors. We’ll see what happens next. I don’t think we can interpret this decision as laxity on the part of CIO. It is indeed he who, like the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union, seized the CAS, against the decision of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency to let Kamila Valieva compete.
In addition, the practice of having so-called retrospective analyzes carried out also pleads in favor of the IOC. Samples are kept to be the subject of subsequent analyzes benefiting from progress in detection methods, this can lead to modifying the results obtained. It should be noted that the IOC applied the sanctions imposed on Russia following the falsification of the controls operated during the Sochi Games in 2014.
For a competition of the magnitude of the Olympic Games, the competence of the IOC to organize anti-doping controls, with the CAS as a remedy, is justified. On the other hand, as former president of the French Anti-Doping Agency, I was in favor of competitions taking place in France, whether national or international, being controlled by WADA, in agreement with the international federation concerned. It will be interesting to see how the control of the next Olympic Games, which will take place in Paris, will be organised.
►”It’s catastrophic for the image of the IOC”
Patrick Clastreshistorian, specialist in Olympism
“This alleged doping case of young Russian skater Kamila Valieva is very embarrassing for the IOC, as it is part of the endless series of scandals involving the Russian state since the Sochi Games in 2014. Of course , since the revelations about the organization of a system intended to hide the doping practices of Russian athletes, the IOC has mobilized to obtain sanctions, and the stables of Augeas have been partly cleaned. But the Valieva case sheds a layer on the systemic aspect of doping in Russia, and on the fact that everything may not be settled. The Russian champions are still under surveillance and, obviously, the page cannot yet be turned. The case promises long legal developments, and it is catastrophic for the image of the IOC.
→ ANALYSIS. The lament of Russian athletes deprived of the flag
Many questions arise, concerning the influence or not of the supervision of the champion, who is minor, or the very long time that elapsed between the control carried out on December 25, 2021 and the notification of the positivity of the skater, who only intervened once the Games had started. The anti-doping laboratory concerned in Stockholm argues that it is understaffed in this Covid period, and perhaps it also did not process the sample quickly by not prioritizing an athlete under the age of 16. . Still, the affair broke out at the worst time for the IOC.
It can be argued that, in this story, the IOC can hardly intervene and must rely on the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CAS, which finally authorized Kamila Valieva to compete. Certainly. But the IOC is only following the procedure that it has put in place. And perhaps it is necessary to wonder about this procedure, of which one can clearly see when such a complex scenario arises that it does not offer a very satisfactory solution. The IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, can play the white knights here, arguing that it is the CAS that allows Kamila Valieva to continue her Games, not them. Still, the fight against doping once again shows flaws.
→ UNDERSTAND. Doping at the Beijing Olympics: Russian skater Kamila Valieva tested positive
The Russian question remains a major thorn in the side of the IOC. Is the participation of the Russians under the banner of their Olympic committee and not their national flag a sufficient sanction? The IOC, already grappling with politically and environmentally controversial Games, faces an additional problem. It’s a much more tormented context than during the 2008 Summer Games because, at the time, social networks were not as powerful as they are today. So far, athletes have largely refrained from expressing reservations during the Games. Nothing says that it will be the same in the weeks to come. If Kamila Valieva is a gold medalist – and even if the IOC is awaiting a judgment on the merits before giving her her medal or not – the debate is likely to be exacerbated. »