I think I speak for everyone when I say: UGH. After a week of intense sturm und drang, Kamila Valieva — the 15 year old Russian favorite who was allowed to skate despite failing a drug test, to the intense protestations of the IOC, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and literally everyone else alive — absolutely crashed out her long program and finished 4th. Her two Russian teammates Anna Shcherbakova (the current world champ) and Aleksandra Trusova (who have to know everyone is side-eying them, given that they too train with noted Bad News Bear Eteri Tutberidze, but whose tests have all been clean) finished first and second, and Japan’s delightful Kaori Sakamoto took the bronze. At least these women got to have their medal ceremony! (Although Trusova had what I can only call a tantrum about not winning while Valieva was having a total emotional breakdown, and no one was congratulating their winner. All is not well at Team ROC. At the very least, all these girls need a hug. ) Anyway, perhaps the IOC can now go into a dark room and think about how it’s possible that they, the International Olympic Committee, somehow ended up in a scenario where they were not allowed to be the final word on whether or not an athlete who has been doping participates in the, you know, Olympics.
Hopefully this absolute fiasco will bring about some change in the sport, or at least the extent to which Russia is allowed to make its own decisions about how to handle athletes who do not pass their drug tests. (Although I think they really need to raise the minimum age for competitors in all Olympic events to 18.) I also thought this piece in Defector about how freaking depressing this whole thing is was extremely well done. Insert your Debbie Downer music sting here, as I bring you the top ten! (Karen Chen had a tough skate and finished in 16th, but she did get a medal for her performance in the team competition.)