BEIJING — We ended up here, with yet another Russia doping scandal at yet another Olympics, because Russia was never properly punished for its original sins. The Russians were so set upon success at the 2014 Winter Games, hosted at their own Black Sea resort of Sochi, that they ran a state-sponsored doping system. Olympics missed by Russian athletes since the scheme was exposed: Zero.
That’s not on Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old figure skater who was part of the Russian team that won a gold medal here — but has yet to receive it. To this point, the specifics of this case — Russian media reports that Valieva tested positive for a banned substance in December — are murky at best. They always are.
But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Valieva, indeed, ingested the medicine trimetazidine, which can be used to treat migraines but is on the banned list because it increases blood flow efficiency and improves endurance, and then tested positive in December, as has been reported. Vilifying Valieva, a favorite for gold in the women’s competition, does nothing for anyone. The idea that a 15-year-old girl is trying to evade the World Anti-Doping Agency and cheat her way to multiple golds on her own is laughable. This is a systemic issue, and Valieva — even if she took this drug, even if this drug helped her in any way, which are both in question at the moment — is only a product of the system from which she came.