2 Figure skating

Kamila Valieva was banned for a long time. © APA/afp / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT

After the Olympic scandal: figure skating prodigy banned for a long time

Almost two years after the Olympic scandal involving Kamila Valieva, the Russian figure skater was subsequently banned for four years by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday.

This means that Russia's team is also likely to lose the team gold it won with the then 15-year-old at the Winter Games in Beijing. The US selection would then be declared Olympic champions. The Valieva ban begins retroactively from December 25, 2021.

The case of Valieva, now 17, has been keeping sports lawyers busy since the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. After the team competition, a positive doping test was revealed. Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine at the national championships in December 2021. Because Valieva was only 15 years old at the time, she was considered a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Code whose identity should not have been disclosed. The secrecy failed. Valieva's legally enforced start in the Olympic individual ended as a scandal with a freestyle in tears, the favorite only ended up in 4th place.

Coach Eteri Tutberidze with Kamila Valieva after she burst into tears during the Olympic free skate. © ANSA / HOW HWEE YOUNG / ED

CAS sports judges took over the case in autumn 2022 because WADA and the World Ice Skating Association had objected to the ruling by the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA. RUSADA had only stripped Valieva of the national championship title, but had not imposed any further sanctions. “No guilt or negligence” could be proven. WADA, in turn, announced: “Doping of children is unforgivable. Doctors, trainers or other support staff who have administered performance-enhancing substances to minors will face the full force of the World Anti-Doping Code.”

Kremlin angry about long ban

Initial reactions in Russia showed complete incomprehension. The Kremlin criticizes the verdict as politically motivated. “Of course we don’t agree with this,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in St. Petersburg. If there are legal remedies against the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, then Russia should use them. “We have to defend the interests of our athletes to the last.”

Kamila Valieva at a sports ceremony in the Kremlin. © ANSA / Yuri Kochetkov

The Russian Figure Skating Federation announced that it would closely examine the verdict. Since they are not taking part in the proceedings, the verdict is only known from generally accessible sources, said Secretary General Alexander Kogan. “It is a great pity that such an honest, wonderful, talented person like Kamila has to deal with such harsh injustice at such a young age,” says Russian coach Tatyana Tarasova. “The hatred of our country has been transferred to them.”

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