Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva finished to compete at the Olympics

BEIJING – Russian teenager Kamila Valieva has been allowed to compete in women’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics despite failing a pre-Olympic drug test, helping her attempt to win a medal. second gold in Beijing.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport delivered its verdict less than 12 hours after a hastily arranged hearing that lasted until early Monday morning that Valieva, 15, was the favorite for the women’s individual gold medal. , no need to be temporarily suspended in advance. a full investigation.

The court ruled in her favor in part because she was a minor, known in Olympic terms as a “protected person,” and subject to different regulations than athletes. mature.

“The panel considers that preventing the athlete from competing in the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm under the circumstances,” said CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb.

Now, Valieva and her Russian fellow skaters can aim to win the first women’s figure skating championship in Olympic history. The event begins with a short show on Tuesday and ends on Thursday with free skates.

Not long after the decision, Valieva skated in her allotted training period, watched by her coach, Eteri Tutberidze. She completed her show without falling, and her skating drew applause from the watching Russian media.

Reactions around the world range from support of the young skater to complaints that Russian doping has once again ruined a sporting event.

The CAS panel also cited fundamental issues of fairness in its ruling, the fact that she had a clean check in Beijing and that there was a “serious problem of untimely notification” about her positive test result.

Valieva tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine on December 25 in the Russian national team but the results from the Swedish laboratory were not released until a week ago, after she helped the Commission. Russian Olympics won the gold medal.

The reason for the six-week wait for results from Sweden is unclear, although Russian officials attribute it in part to the spike in COVID-19 omicron variant cases. In January, this affected HR.

In a statement about the ruling, WADA suggested that RUSADA ignored it by not signaling to the Stockholm laboratory that Valieva’s sample was a priority for analysis close to the Olympics.

Her case has caused havoc at the Olympics since last Tuesday when the team event medal ceremony was pulled from the schedule.

Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) immediately suspended her competition, then lifted the ban a day later, leaving medal awards in limbo. The IOC and others appealed and an urgent hearing was held on Sunday night. Valieva testified via videoconference.

Athletes under the age of 16 like Valieva have more rights under anti-doping rules and are generally not liable for drug use. The focus of any future investigation will be on her personal team – coaches, doctors, nutritionists, etc.

This ruling only addresses whether Valieva can continue skating before her case is resolved. It does not determine the fate of a gold medal she has won.

Valieva made her first women’s quadruple jump at the Olympics when she won the team event gold medal with the Russian Olympic Committee last Monday. The United States took the silver and Japan took the copper. Canada ranked fourth.

That medal, and any medals she won in the individual competition, could still be taken from her.

Those matters will be handled in a separate, longer-term investigation into the positive doping test that will be led by RUSADA, the unit that took the sample in St.Petersburg.

The World Anti-Doping Agency will have the right to appeal any RUSADA ruling, saying it wants an independent investigation of Valieva’s entourage.

In the case of Valieva, questions raised by a culture that has frequently demonstrated doping in Russian sport have become the main theme for a sixth consecutive Olympics, including three last winter period in Sochi, Russia; Pyeongchang, South Korea; and now Beijing.

“This appears to be another chapter in Russia’s systematic and widespread disregard for clean sport,” said Sarah Hirshland, executive director of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Hirshland said the USOPC was “disappointed by the message this decision sent” and asked athletes denied the confidence to know they compete on a level playing field.

At the rink on Tuesday, the ice dance competition was decided as CAS prepared to rule.

Gold medal winners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and bronze medal winners Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue suggested, “No comment.”

Nikita Katsalapov, who together with Victoria Sinitsina won the silver medal for the Russians, said simply: “Go Kamila!”

Hubbell and Donohue could be upgraded silver to gold in the team competition if the Russians were stripped of the title at a later date.

“No deal is done yet, but I know everyone on the team wants to get medals here as a team,'” Hubbell said. “If we miss that opportunity, it’s a huge disappointment.”

The IOC has requested that the entire Valieva doping case be resolved in Beijing, which is not realistic. However, the IOC can now reschedule the figure skating team medal ceremony.

___ Beijing-based AP Sports writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva finished to compete at the Olympics

Dais Johnston

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