Russian skater Kamila Valieva allowed to compete in Beijing Winter Olympics amid doping scandal
Teen figure skater Kamila Valieva will now be allowed to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics after her interim doping ban was lifted. The Russian skater had been banned from competing in the prestigious event after she failed a pre-Olympics doping test on the first go. The International Olympic Committee announced their decision to let the 15-year-old keep her gold medal that she had bagged in last week's team event, following her appeal after she failed to clear her initial doping test.
The Russian is favourite to win the singles event when it starts on Tuesday, but she has not been cleared of doping and could still face punishment at a later date. "The IOC has to follow the rule of law and will therefore have to allow her to compete in the women's single skating competition," the IOC said in a statement on Monday.
However, there will be no medal ceremony for the women's singles figure skating if Valieva finishes in the top three, the IOC said. There will also be no ceremony for the team event, in which Valieva played a starring role.
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"In the interest of fairness to all athletes... it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," the IOC added, noting Valieva's failed doping test.
Valieva and her team made it to a spectacular victory and the Russian skater became the first woman to ever land a quadruple jump in the Olympics. Valieva now also has a chance to score another gold medal in the next scheduled Olympic event, a women's competition. The competition is scheduled to commence less than 24 hours after Valieva's first victory and she is being called the 'favorite' among her two other Russian teammates.
The very young and talented athlete was banned from the event after she tested positive for heart medication and trimetazidine, both of which are flagged as drugs that are not permitted. In December, the medication had been flagged by a Swedish laboratory six weeks after the sample was taken in St Petersburg, Russia. Three judges with the Court of Arbitration for Sport heard testimony directly from the skater during her testimony regarding the doping scandal on Sunday.
The lab returned news of the flagged medication after the day Valieva helped her team bag a gold medal. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency had banned the teen star immediately after the news was broken but later decided to lift it so that Valieva could proceed and compete in her main event. The decision was challenged by International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the International Skating Union, prompting Sunday’s hearing.
The ROC also revealed that the teen athlete has had a clean record throughout and had never failed a doping test before. “We are sure that Kamila is innocent and clean,” ROC coach Eteri Tutberidze told Russian state media after the hearing.