Valieva’s Opponents Might Be Denied the Final Olympic Thrill

Goucher mentioned she hadn’t deliberate to pay a lot consideration to this 12 months’s Beijing Video games. The determine skating and controversy over Valieva sucked her in. She watches with a grimace.

“This complete state of affairs is only a slap within the face to all of the clear athletes,” Goucher mentioned, talking this week by cellphone from her dwelling in Boulder, Colo.

What grew to become clear as we spoke is one thing price remembering: The psychological burden that weighs on athletes who play by the principles as they sq. off in opposition to those that don’t. “We’re asking the opposite skaters to be mentally robust past what anyone ought to ever be requested,” she mentioned. “We’re asking them to say, ‘Hey, this individual has had a constructive take a look at, however you recognize, it is advisable to ignore that and go in there and nonetheless consider you are able to do it. Regardless that this different athlete probably has a bonus that you may by no means have, rise to the event. It’s ridiculous.”

Credit score…Frank Augstein/Related Press

Goucher by no means received an Olympic medal. However she did have a breakout efficiency on the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan, putting third within the 10,000-meter run, turning into the primary American to win a medal within the occasion.

The bronze was hailed by the American observe group as proof that distance runners born and raised in the USA may compete with anybody. However nowadays, she will be able to’t assist occupied with what her profession would have been like if she’d stood on that podium and obtained the silver medal as an alternative of the bronze, a seemingly small distinction however one that will have meant not simply additional prize and sponsorship cash but additionally additional self-belief.

She will be able to’t assist occupied with it as a result of, in 2015, a re-examined blood take a look at confirmed the second-place finisher within the Osaka race, Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegasse, had doped. After lengthy appeals by her rival, Goucher’s bronze grew to become silver. Monitor officers despatched it to her in 2020, 13 years after the race. When she noticed the small field arrive within the mail, realizing what was inside, she mentioned she couldn’t open it. There have been too many feelings: pleasure, frustration, anger, reduction. Goucher and her husband, Adam, one other former Olympic distance runner, together with their younger son, held an impromptu awards ceremony of their front room. Mates hopped on Zoom to congratulate her. activities/olympics/kamila-valieva-olympics-doping.html Valieva’s Opponents Might Be Denied the Final Olympic Thrill

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