‘For me he’s a victim’: figure skating icon Katarina Witt on Russian Valiewa

Trimetazidine, a banned heart drug, was detected in a doping sample taken by Valiyeva in late December. However, the positive test was only known during the winter games in Beijing. Valiewa received permission to participate in the individual competition from the International Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS. Two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt commented in a chat rt the situation:

I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes and feel that pressure and go out and be brave like them. She made a small mistake, but she had to get on the ice: the whole world was watching her, all eyes were on her and, of course, those of the competition.

For Witt, the 15-year-old favorite was the victim of a doping scandal:

For me, she’s an absolute victim: she’s 15, she’s underage and she shouldn’t be dealing with what she’s going through right now.

It was a real pleasure to see the Russian debut, she put in an incredible performance. “I have to say that she is running at a completely unattainable level. It was not an easy evening for her, but she managed it,” Witt said. According to her, Valiyeva is under a lot of pressure on two fronts: the expectations placed in her and the doping allegations. In order to avoid such incidents in the future, the 56-year-old advocates a minimum age at the Olympic Games:

I want to make a somewhat provocative suggestion: athletes must be at least 18 years old to participate in the Olympic Games.

Witt said she was 18 at her first Olympics. Also at that time there was political pressure because Germany wanted her to win. But the present and the past are two parallel worlds, according to Witt. With the advent of social networks, athletes are now quickly in the spotlight, much faster than 30 or 40 years ago:

At least we didn’t have Instagram or Facebook. I think it was a big change, you felt a bit more protected in a way and not scattered all over the place.

The sports legend commented on doping in general as follows:

From my point of view, and from the point of view of all honest and honest athletes, doping should not be tolerated in any sport or discipline.

According to Witt, the use of doping should lead to a lifetime ban. But in Valiyeva’s case, definitive results are still lacking. It is obvious that the adults around the young woman are responsible for this incident: “I can not imagine how she is, at such a young age it must be unbearable”.

The incident not only harmed Russia or Valiewa, but figure skating in general, according to Witt: “In general, I have to say it’s a disaster for the sport – and especially for all the athletes involved.” Other athletes who participated in the team competition are also at a disadvantage as they are denied the awards ceremony. According to Witt, this is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete, no matter what medal he won. The postponement of the ceremony is also unfair because the organizers do not know how everything will end.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) canceled the medal ceremony due to a doping scandal. The IOC has also decided not to organize an award ceremony if the European champion wins a medal in women’s singles.

The 15-year-old has every chance of winning the Olympics: Valiyewa leads after the short program. Today, Thursday, she still has to prove herself in freestyle.

more on the subject – Valiyeva speaks for the first time about the emotional burden of the alleged doping case

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