Drug Use Controversy 2022 Olympics


The 2022 Winter Olympic Games came to an end on Sunday and many have been critical of how things transpired apart from the competition. (Photo Credit: Olympics.com) 

Arturo Mazari

Sports Editor

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games have been the surrounding piece in sports for the past few weeks. Rightfully so, they occur every four years and display amazing talent from all over the world. But this time around, controversy arose early and made people focus on many outside factors instead of just the competition itself. They were hosted in Beijing and ran from February 4 to February 22. 

The most controversial story that came out of the Winter Olympics was that of Kamila Valieva; a 15-year-old Russian figure skater who was cleared to compete amid a doping scandal. A positive doping test came to light after she helped the Russian Olympic Committee take gold in the team event. She tested positive for trimetazidine, a performance-enhancing drug, but was still cleared to compete by the Court of Arbitration for Sport due to “exceptional circumstances” linking to her status as a minor. 

The backlash from this story grew when U.S. sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson called out Olympic and anti-doping officials. Richardson won the 100-meter race in the U.S. Olympic trials last summer and was a favorite to win a medal but was denied the chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympics due to testing positive for THC.  

While both THC and trimetazidine are on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, the punishment did not prove to be the same for each athlete. Richardson calling out the Olympics for having a double standard and not staying consistent led to an uproar and had people talking more about this case than the games that were taking place.  

Over 91 nations and 2871 athletes competed in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Norway, Germany, and China rounded out the top three in total gold medals won with the U.S. landing in fourth. But this global competition will be remembered more for the controversies featured, Covid restrictions that were in place, and the unprecedented time it fell in.