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My Opinion on the Integrity of Clean Sport

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“In the name of the athlete’s we promise to take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules and in the spirit of fair play, inclusion and equality. Together we stand in solidarity and commit ourselves to sport without DOPING, without cheating, without any form of discrimination. We do this for the honour of our teams, in respect for the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and to make the world a better place through sport.”

Skating Soap Operas

I have always loved the Olympics. As a skater I had that unrealistic dream of gold and glory (because let’s face it my hometown is NOT knowns for skaters) and I loved cheering on my idols and later friends. Skating has always been somewhat controversial. We all have heard of Tonya and Nancy, and then of course the judging scandal in Salt Lake. I am use to the opinions that skating isn’t a “real” sport and the subjectiveness (and cheating scandals) of the judges further proves that. Obviously I disagree with all of that. I urge anyone to try throwing yourselves up in the air only to land on the thinnest of blades and with ice as a cushion. That said we are almost use to the soap opera-esqueness that is skating, bringing the drama that is a great performance off the ice to rink side. It certainly isn’t boring that is for sure.

Yes we had our scandals, yes we had the drama, but we always had our integrity. Or perhaps I should say the illusion of integrity, after all, no sport is perfect. Each scandal, while not handled perfectly, was handled, especially when it came to doping. Much in the spirit of the games, or the classes we took in school, it was a zero tolerance policy, even when it wasn’t always fair. Until now.

Zero Tolerance Policy

To reiterate EVERYTHING I have said and EVRYTHING my friends and colleagues and fans and athletes have said this has nothing to do with Kamila. I do believe she is as much an innocent in this as her fellow skaters. She is a product of a brutal, and yes, abusive training environment that promotes winning at all costs, most of the time it is at the expense of the very athletes that bring them “Glory.” Regardless, she still tested positive for a BANNED substance. In fact she tested positive for THREE different types of heart medication that will in fact give an unfair advantage, especially used for a long period of time.

This isn’t just about doping, this is also about the health and well being of athletes, and as the Court For Arbitration of Sport is spouting her age to the nose bleed section, they should also be concerned about the ramifications of what this will do to her physical health in the long run. Doping is doping, regardless of whether it was on purpose, accidental, or coercion. As I shared the Athlete’s (AND coaches) oath above, you pledge not to dope, to not cheat.  It doesn’t matter how old you are (and for the record, no I do not believe we should raise the age because it is a band aid to the problem, not the solution) you took that oath and you should be held to the same standards. We don’t ever learn from our mistakes if their are no repercussions, and the ROC is a prime example of that. They have been pushing the envelope for decades with no repercussions. My heartbreaks that a fifteen year old child is caught in the cross fire, but how will she learn right from wrong if she is not held accountable as well?

Something in Skating Has Died

Something in skating died two days ago. And it will die once again this morning, as Kamila takes to the ice for the long. By NOT suspending her, the governing bodies are telling every athlete that their integrity, hard work, and honesty, does NOT matter and that is NOT okay. They are sending a message that doping is okay, at the very least dependable on your age, and what does that message send to the younger generations watching?

I love this sport. I will always love it. It made me who I am, amongst the jumps and spins it taught me hard work and integrity. But I am so disappointed in where it has gone, because the lessons I grew up with, that my coaches drilled into me along with the edges and spins, are no longer being upheld. They are being skated over in epic fashion. In the next days and months, especially when the world stops watching and the headlines go away, are pivotal for our sport and where it is headed. On what side of history it wants to be known for, letting politics and money drive cheating and abuse, or whether we want to go back to the grace and strength that is fueled by integrity and hard work. All the quads and innovativeness are not worth it, if we do not keep our integrity in our sport.

To all the skaters skating today, you do not need a gold medal or a medal of any kind to say you are worthy, you have already made your mark. You are an Olympian and you have done it cleanly and with integrity and so much grace given the situation at hand. YOU are the true winners and you did it the right way. <3

What are your opinions on this latest scandal in skating? 

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