Last summer, I made a blog about the mental stress of what the athletes go through during the Olympics. After watching the women’s figure skating event tonight, I have more on my mind.
My first take on the scandal was the Russian skater should have known better and said something. After reading a lot over the past couple of days, I have changed my mind. This whole matter is so wrong.
First of all – she is 15 years old – a child! The stress that is put on these young girls to compete and win is bad enough, but to make them take banned substances is despicable. And no, I don’t believe she did this willing. Some may say she knew what she was doing and must accept the consequences. Yes, I have no doubt she knew what she was doing, but I do not believe for a moment that she did it willingly. I am sure she was threatened if she said anything. The Russian Olympic Committee are not what I would call good guys. They want to win. At all costs. This is not the first time and if no action is taken it won’t be the last either.
Valieva came in 4th, no medal, and humiliated by her coach. I thought coaches were supposed to be uplifting and comforting. This one is not. After the Russian skater who ended up coming in 2nd got her marks, there was a confrontation between her and the coach (the same woman coached all three Russian women). And if you are able to find it, it’s very telling about the situation of the skating program in Russia. It’s disturbing to hear what this young skater said about her coach, and the Russian skating program.
From what I understand from our Canadian commentators, there is going to be a review in the next few weeks on whether the age limit should be increased for skaters coming into the Olympics. I agree with this. They are suggesting 18 years old. At least they would be a bit more mature at that point and yet agile enough to still do all the tricks required for the technical part of the skating.
What is your take on this? Do you think this young skater should be taking the brunt of this controversy?