In 2019, social media functions as a large platform for the sporting world, with the newfound prevalence of Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, etc., information people share will follow them for years to come. Recently, a young female figure skater from Russia, Anastasia Shabotova, made allegations on Instagram that doping is the only way to ensure consistent results on the ice.
The Russians are no strangers to doping scandals, after the 2014-2018 ban from the Olympic Games due to state-sponsored doping allegations in 2014. Following these events, it seems likely that athletes will be deterred from partaking in deviant behaviour or promoting deviant behaviour. While the figure skater in question is still young, her comments on the nonchalance of doping should be used as a teaching moment for her, and others, as she moves forward as an athlete.
In the social media age, it is becoming more important to educate athletes on what is appropriate and inappropriate content to publicize. Her comments, one of which states “Take a lot of dope, and you’ll perform consistently” leaves the interpretation up to the reader in some respects. While it is unclear how she meant to address the question of the ways to improve performance for athletes, to insinuate a view of doping in such matter will raise concerns for a large number of people.
Her age is an important factor in this situation, as she is still young enough to recover from comments of this nature. Shabotova’s comments, serious or not, suggest that there is a growing belief that to be successful in sport, an athlete requires more than hard just work and skill. These new standards are unattainable for most athletes and can often lead athletes to over conform to the norms of their sports and engage in deviant behaviour.
Featured image: Anastasia Shabotova at the 2018 Rostelecom Cup