IOC member Denis Oswald says there’s no suggestion of ‘state-sponsored’ actions in Kamila Valieva’s case
International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive committee member Denis Oswald has responded to suggestions that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is somehow involved in a ‘state-sponsored’ doping scheme , supporting the IOC’s handling of the situation amid the ongoing saga in Beijing.
Valieva, 15, became the center of a media storm when it was announced that she had tested positive for a banned heart drug in a sample taken in December. A decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) determined on Monday that the teenager should continue to be eligible to compete in the Winter Games.
IOC official Oswald was pressed on the matter at a press conference on Tuesday, where he was asked about past accusations that Russia was involved in a strategic doping campaign at the Sochi Olympics in 2014 – which Russia has repeatedly denied.
Oswald previously chaired a disciplinary commission investigating past doping allegations.
“It has not been established that there is a relationship between this [Valieva] 2014 doping cases and status,” Oswald told reporters.
“There seems to be no connection between the two.
“No such connection has been established so far. Do you have a country in the world where there is not a single case of doping?
“I don’t think that’s the case, no country is perfect. This is not the result of what we have been doing since 2014.”
Oswald added that any disciplinary action taken by the IOC must only target athletes who are proven to have been deliberately involved in cheating, and that clean athletes, regardless of who they are, must see their right to compete preserved and protected.
“We can’t punish clean athletes, that’s what we tried to do,” Oswald added, referring to sanctions imposed by the IOC and WADA against Russian athletes.
“In 2017, we did the maximum that we could do in accordance with the law. The sanction, whatever sanction you take, must be proportionate to the offence.
“We took the maximum penalty that we could do in law. We suspended the athletes involved for the next two Games and this was overturned by the court, saying it was not proportionate to the offence.
“They limited the sanction, it was limited to one edition of the Olympic Games rather than two. We live in a state of law and we respected the law.”
Valieva’s case has seen increasingly hysterical calls for further sanctions against Russian athletes from some media figures, although the facts of the case are still being established.
USA Today Columnist Christine Brenan called for a blanket ban on Russia from the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the next Winter Games in Milan in 2026.
Responding to Oswald, she also claimed: “For once, wouldn’t it be great if an IOC leader told a press conference what the rest of the world knows: that Russia’s obsession with cheating has plunged other Olympic Games into chaos, potentially ruining the experience of dozens of innocent athletes?”
getting ready for@CNNSitRoomto talk about Kamila Valieva and Russian doping. When people ask how to clean this up, here’s the first thing to do: ban Russia from the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2026 Milan Olympics. Make them pay for the chaos they’ve caused. pic.twitter.com/zAsJN0Ki0q
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 14, 2022
Similar outrage appeared on the pages of Yahoo Sport, where writer Dan Wetzel claimed the official response to Valieva and her positive test had “paved the way for Russia to cheat forever.
But as Oswald noted in his comments to the media, “IIt’s surprising that people have opinions on this without all the details of this case.”
Russian officials, including in the national Olympic committee and the figure skating federation, have maintained their belief that Valieva is innocent.
The ROC noted that Valieva repeatedly took doping tests before and after her positive result, which was taken at the Russian national championships on December 25.
Questions have also been raised as to why it took so long for the WADA-accredited lab in Sweden to release the test result, which only came after Valieva helped the ROC win the gold medal in the team event in Beijing.
Oswald revealed on Tuesday that Valieva’s team said his positive test for trimetazidine, a banned heart drug, may have come from accidental contamination from drugs his grandfather was taking.
Cause of Valieva doping allegation revealed