Like everyone else, I’m still trying to put my arms around this Court of Arbitration for Sport‘s (CAS) ruling on Monday (Feb. 14, 2022) that allowed 15-year-old Russian figure skater, Kamila Valieva, to compete in today’s women’s individual competition despite having tested positive for a banned heart medication at the Russian Championships on December 25th.

In their ruling, the CAS stated Valieva’s status as a “protected person” (meaning a minor) was a factor in their judgement not to remove her from competition.

Their lone proviso to the other athletes, no medals will be awarded if Valieva finishes in the top three, pending a full investigation. And they will hold onto the team medals, too, that the Russians won last week, led by Valieva. Really? Thats the best you can do?

This way everyone else who didn’t test positive for drugs gets screwed, and the one person who did test positive gets a gold medal ruling.

Most of you are too young to remember, but after the infamous Rosie Ruiz jumped into the 1980 Boston Marathon less than a mile from the finish and crossed the line before any other female, it wasn’t just the diamond-chip medal the BAA awarded for first place that Rosie stole from the real champion, Jackie Gareau, of Canada, it was the moment of victory.  

Yes, the BAA conducted an exhaustive, week-long investigation to prove Rosie didn’t run the entire distance. And yes, they restaged the finish for Jackie a week later. But the moment wasn’t the same as it would have been on Patriot’s Day.

The Olympic moment is what the CAS ruling is stripping from some young deserving skater, even if it’s another Russian.

Kamila Valieva no longer on thin ice (

I guess I’ve been around long enough to see the patterns.

EVERY football game involves holding, offensive, defensive, doesn’t matter. You see it on every slo-mo replay! Watch. They are all grabbing. It’s as plain as peanut butter on white bread.

But the players know the refs aren’t going to throw a flag on every play. So the analytics say hold away (as subtly as you can) because you’re not gonna get called on it every time!

And when they do decide to keep you honest, you live with it, like a tax. Sadly, for the Cincinnati Bengals, the process was painfully obvious in Super Bowl LVI last Sunday.

After having their penalty flags stapled to their pockets for the first 3 3/4s of the game, the refs began throwing them like confetti on the final drive that brought the Rams the Lombardi Trophy.

Things didn’t work out for the Bengals, linebacker Logan Wilson got screwed with that third and one holding call near the goal line that handed the Rams four more cracks. But it’s all a cost-benefit analysis.

Same with the three-point shot in basketball. The analytics say keep on chucking from behind the arc like you’re the new Splash Brother because in the long run, it’ll redound to your benefit. So forget that easy bunny underneath and whip the ball out for a corner three. 

That’s, more or less, how the Russians look at taking PEDs, seemingly. They do it every time, all the time, even had it state-supported until the sports organizations of the world were forced to ban them.

No problem. We’ll just enter our athletes under a nom de guerre, the Russian Olympic Committee, and keep on doping without breaking stride or a sweat.

And through it all, they just think, whatatheygonnado? They know the refs aren’t going to flag them every time. Russia is too powerful a country to be eliminated from the world sporting stage forever. Without them, the entire enterprise is somewhat, you know, invalidated, especially women’s figure skating.

 Besides, we’ll double down by training minors to compete. A) they are the only ones with the prepubescent hip-width necessary to spin cycle those quad jumps older women can’t even attempt, and B) if we do get flagged, she’s only a kid. She’ll get “special person” treatment. Kick the case down the road. We take home the gold when it matters.

Sure, it is pure cynicism. But look at the results. So they cheat every time and don’t lose one night’s sleep over it. And justify it by looking at the west and saying, “you are doing the same thing. You just call it therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs).”

It’s the same way the mafia perceives Congress. When you do it, say the Dons, it’s called a tax law. When we do it, it’s called a criminal enterprise.

I guess it’s he who holds the hammer that defines the nails (while the athletes continue to get screwed on the ice.)

Have fun with the skating!


10 thoughts on “STEALING THE MOMENT

  1. Thanks for talking about this. What further weakens the IOC’s argument about “protected athlete” status is the role they’ve played in ignoring the sexual abuse of athletes for dozens of years.

    Sadly this appears to be yet another example of an organization which has become rotten to its core.

  2. Toni – People miss the point and think, oh its’ just a heart medication. If you think that is the only thing they are giving her, I have some nice Florida swamp land to sell you. This one is for endurance. They are all giving her things that will make her be stronger, and therefore jump higher. Unfortunately, PED’s put a stain on sports, and this is a perfect example. You are 100% correct, if she was thrown out, next one up. They don’t care.

      1. We have been around too long to take anything at face value. The only thing cynicism trumps is bitterness. It’s the way of the world, for better or worst. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    1. I respectfully disagree. The skater we’re seeing is one who has had the benefit of a performance assisting drug. You can’t know how she would preform unless you take the drug away, and unwind the thousands of hours of training she’s done and have her re-do them with no drugs in her system.

  3. Well stated, Toni. Like everyone else, I was hugely disappointed, but not surprised in the least by their decision.

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