Isabelle Knaute

The Delicate Case of Russia: Who’s Speaking Out and Why

When news broke last week that 14 Russian cross-country skiers may have doped at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, stakeholders in the sport reacted around the globe. Some, like Canada's then head coach Justin Wadsworth, essentially predicted that two years ago at the Games. Others, like French skier Robin Duvillard, tried not to get too caught up in it, but he might by default.

In the summer of 2010, Isabelle Knaute found herself in an unusual position. Originally from Germany and a veteran of the Swiss national team staff, the physical therapist was hired by the Russians to work with a small group of skiers. “I don’t think there’s ever been a foreign staff member for the Russian team,” star athlete Alexander Legkov told Russian website skirun.ru at the time. Knaute, who took five years of Russian in school,...