Dramatic Reactions From Russian Team At Winter Olympics Spark Controversy


On February 17, 2022, the women’s figure skating free skate final took place at this year’s Winter Olympics set in Beijing, China.

The Russian Olympic Team saw great triumph, with 17-year-old Anna Shcherbakova winning the gold medal, 17-year-old Alexandra Trusova taking the silver medal, and 15-year-old Kamila Valieva coming in at fourth.

Despite the spectacular statistics, the skaters’ reactions were. . .far from triumphant to say the least. Trusova broke down into what viewers are calling a “temper tantrum” after losing her first-place spot to Shcherbakova. “Everyone has a gold medal, everyone, but not me! I hate skating. I hate it. I hate this sport. I will never skate again.”, snapped Trusova upon stepping off the ice.

Valieva was predicted by many to win the gold medal, but in a shocking turn of events placed fourth, and, after seeing her scores, broke down into tears. When she stepped off the ice, her coach Eteri Tutberidze demanded, “Why did you let it go? Why did you stop fighting? Explain it to me, why?”

Just a week before, Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication known to boost endurance. The discovery brewed controversy regarding whether Valieva should be able to compete, however, because of her young age and potential “mental damage” that could result from being banned, the International Olympic Committee allowed her to compete still.

Despite her victory, gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova was captured sitting by herself while Trusova and Valieva expressed their loss. When asked how she felt, she responded, “On the one hand I feel happy, on the other I feel this emptiness inside.”

Since the free skate, many have come forward with suggestions to change the age requirement of Olympic competitors in an effort to protect underage competitors like Valieva, Trusova, and Scherbakokva from the competitive nature’s potentially harmful effects. Others are calling out dangerous and abusive coaching techniques. One Twitter user stated, “I’m tired of 15-year-old female athletes being fed drugs, worked to the point of injury, verbally abused, pressured into eating disorders, expected to carry an entire nation’s pride. . .Make 18 the minimum age to compete in the Olympics. Protect girls.”

Despite public outrage, the International Olympic Committee has not come forward with any statements regarding alternations to the age requirement of athletes to compete.