Titans react to controversial Winter Olympics

Alessia Girardin, News Editor

Whether you’ve been watching Nathan Chen figure skating, or Mikaela Shiffrin alpine skiing these past few weeks, you were probably sad that the 2022 Beijing Olympics has recently come to a close. This past Sunday, February 20, marked the end of this year’s Winter Olympics, which brought home both medals and media attention. Many IWU students found themselves watching the Olympics simply because of the raging media storm during the figure skating events. 

The top five nations that competed in this year’s Olympics were Norway, Germany, China, USA, and Sweden. The United States won eight gold medals. One to Kallie Humphries in Women’s Monobob, a second to Nathan Chen in Men’s Figure Skating, a third to Alexander Hall in Men’s Freeski Slopestyle, a fourth to Lindsey Jacobellis in Women’s Snowboard Cross, a fifth to Erin Jackson in Women’s Speed Skating, a sixth to Chloe Kim in Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe, and the last two to USA Mixed Team Aerials and Snowboard Cross. 

Several students said that they were not able to watch the games on TV, but caught up on the events as they came up on social media feeds like Twitter or TikTok. Many started to pay more attention after a doping scandal broke during the figure skating events. 

15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication and was given a brief suspension by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. 

“There’s a lot of pressure on athletes of that caliber, and I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through that on the Olympic stage,” Ries said. 

On February 14, Valieva was granted allowance to participate in her events. Valieva, who was favored to medal before the scandal, placed fourth in the women’s individual figure skating competition. 

“I think there’s an interesting difference in how this figure skater was treated in a drug-enhancement case versus how Sha’Carri Richardson was treated during the Summer Olympics,” sports editor Emily Thompson said. 

Richardson, a sprinter for the U.S, was not allowed to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics after she tested positive for marijuana during the US Track & Field trials. 

Thompson is not the only one to make this comparison, as Richardson herself tweeted about the double standard. 

“Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” Richardson tweeted on February 14. 

As this year’s Winter Olympics ended up overshadowed by controversy, some students said that they have decided  to stop watching all-together. 

“They’re not fun to watch after you’ve read about the stuff going on,” senior Isabel Sperry said. “The controversy takes away the excitement of watching the athletes’ achievements.”