THERE was such a contrast in sports to reflect on as we came up to the end of the 2022 winter Olympics. We witnessed the thrills and spills of some gravity-defying sports that have held us all at the edge of our seats in wonder.

We also shared the tension around the brilliant GB curling teams, particularly Team Muirhead who secured gold yesterday and had us all biting our nails as we virtually watched their brains working, discussing the best tactics to ensure they won more ends than their Japanese opponents.

READ MORE: Olympic ruling on Kamila Valieva is setting a very dangerous precedent

Regardless of the outcome, in the final stages of the game we all hoped they knew that support would be given to them. Not just from fellow competitors, but from coaches, support staff and their wider friends, family and supporters, and that no matter what, we would all be proud of their achievements.

It’s so sad to see that this isn’t the attitude of every coach, in particular, when dealing with such a young competitor as the 15-year-old ice skater from Russia, representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Kamila Valieva.

She has had an extremely turbulent time in Beijing, surrounded by controversy from the early stages and ending with a very cold reception from her coach after she made a few errors on the ice – this reception was publicly criticised by IOC president, Thomas Bach.

I can’t begin to imagine how she has coped with being thrust into the spotlight, basically for all the wrong reasons.

So, who has the duty of care here? The Olympic Organisation Committee, the ROC, her coach, her parents? For me, there is no doubt Valieva has been failed, probably by each and every one of them. As for the rest of us, are we just spectators, voyeurs, enjoying the controversy and happy to turn a blind eye?

This young woman has been thrust into the limelight to feed the egos of so many other people and we have seen totally unacceptable behaviour from each and every one of them.

As we head towards the Paralympics, which start on March 4, let’s hope that we can avoid such controversy and spend our time in awe of the athletes who have given up so much to represent their country on the world stage.