She was a teen, barely sufficiently old to compete on the Olympics, and she or he did it nearly flawlessly. After her last performance, to music from “Riverdance,” she pumped her fist and ran to her coach, who hoisted her onto his shoulders to wave to the group. There was no want to attend for her rating to know she had received.
Then, abruptly, the dream was gone: She was stripped of her gold medal after she examined optimistic for a drug she didn’t know she had taken.
The athlete, Andreea Raducan — 16 years outdated when she and two different Romanian gymnasts swept the ladies’s all-around podium on the 2000 Olympics — grew to become a cautionary story for younger prodigies who conquered their sport by doing every thing the adults round them informed them to. She had woken up with a chilly, and the Romanian crew physician had given her an over-the-counter medicine that she took and not using a thought. It contained pseudoephedrine, a banned substance.
The contrasts with the remedy of the Russian determine skater Kamila Valieva, who has been allowed to compete in Beijing regardless of having examined optimistic for a banned coronary heart medicine, are stark.
Valieva, 15, may finally obtain the identical punishment as Raducan. The Worldwide Olympic Committee has mentioned that if she reaches the rostrum on Thursday, it’ll delay the medal ceremony till the case is resolved. The Court docket of Arbitration for Sport mentioned that its resolution to let her compete was not a ultimate verdict however an acknowledgment that barring her would have penalties that might not be reversed if it finally cleared her of wrongdoing.
Discover the Video games
However the deference she has obtained so far is difficult to reconcile with the remedy of Raducan, who was solely a yr older and whose scenario was much more ambiguous.
The center medicine present in Valieva’s urine pattern, trimetazidine, is linked to higher vitality and endurance, and the truth that it was accompanied by two additional substances that aren’t banned and that can sometimes be used to help the heart makes it seem much less doubtless that she ingested trimetazidine unintentionally.
In contrast, few individuals argued that Raducan had taken pseudoephedrine for performance-enhancing functions, and even that the substance had enhanced her efficiency. On the similar Olympics, she examined clear for 2 different occasions wherein she excelled: the crew ultimate, wherein Romania received gold, and the vault ultimate, wherein she received silver. (She saved these medals.)
However for the needs of Raducan’s all-around medal, the court docket concluded that her age and her intentions have been irrelevant. It affirmed that the physician was accountable and that Raducan was not, nevertheless it additionally mentioned the principles have been the principles: There was a banned substance in her system, so she couldn’t maintain the medal.
Raducan didn’t reply to interview requests.
In an interview on Tuesday, Dominique Moceanu, a gymnast who was 14 when she received gold with the U.S. crew on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, described what it was prefer to be a toddler competing underneath the watch of adults who anticipated obedience. She mentioned that she may think about being given a banned substance with out her information and that she wouldn’t have dared refuse if she had recognized.
“In the event that they mentioned, ‘Right here, it is a vitamin,’ I might have believed them,” mentioned Moceanu, whose coach, Bela Karolyi, churned out Olympic champions by means of a inflexible coaching program very similar to that utilized by Valieva’s coach, Eteri Tutberidze. “What they mentioned is what we did, and should you defied it in any respect, you’d be in huge bother.”
However Moceanu additionally mentioned letting Valieva compete was unfair to different athletes.
“Everyone has to have the identical guidelines,” she mentioned. “That is going to open an entire can of worms for dishonest, and it’s actually unlucky as a result of minors are caught in the midst of all of it.”