What we know about Kamila Valieva and the Olympic team figure skating medal ceremony mystery

Written by on February 10, 2022

BEIJING — Greater than three days after the conclusion of the team figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, and practically 48 hours after the originally-scheduled victory ceremony, the groups concerned have nonetheless not obtained their medals.

And not one of the related sports activities organizations are able to disclose why.

USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Christine Brennan reported Wednesday that the medal ceremony was delayed due to a constructive drug take a look at throughout the Russian workforce – and that officers have been informed the athlete concerned is a minor. The one minor on the Russian workforce is 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, the gold-medal favourite within the ladies’s particular person competitors. (Inside The Video games, an internet site that covers Olympic sports activities, first reported the information.)

Kamila Valieva (Russia) performs during the women's single free skating portion of the figure skating mixed team final during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Capital Indoor Stadium.

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This is what else we all know in regards to the scenario – together with what governing our bodies such because the Worldwide Olympic Committee and Worldwide Skating Union have (and have not) mentioned about it as of Thursday night in Beijing.

How did we study in regards to the delay?

The final occasions of workforce competitors happened Monday morning in Beijing and have been adopted by a ceremony instantly thereafter. Russia received gold in dominant trend, adopted by the U.S. and Japan, respectively. On the ceremony, athletes have been invited onto a podium however didn’t obtain their medals, solely ceremonial panda collectible figurines.

The official medal ceremony was scheduled for the next evening, on Tuesday, however athletes have been knowledgeable moments earlier than departing that it had been delayed.

The following day, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams acknowledged the delay at a information convention however didn’t provide a lot element. He mentioned solely that there was an “rising difficulty” that required “authorized session with the IOC.”

“We’ve athletes which have received medals concerned,” Adams mentioned.

Who’s Kamila Valieva?

Valieva is, merely put, the very best feminine determine skater on this planet.

A part of the so-called “quad squad” of elite feminine Russian skaters, Valieva has the excellence of being the reigning European and Russian champion. To date this season, she has damaged the world data for each quick and lengthy program rating – after which re-broken her personal marks. She has additionally landed jumps in competitors that few ladies even try, together with the quad toe loop, quad salchow and infamous triple axel.

Valieva successfully clinched Russia’s win within the workforce efficiency and is the clear favourite to win particular person gold.

She, like different Russian skaters, has largely prevented talking with Western media whereas in Beijing. However she was seen at apply Thursday.

“She will not be suspended,” Olga Ermolina, a spokesperson for the Russian determine skating federation, mentioned in line with the Related Press.

Valieva is coached by Eteri Tutberidze, a well known Russian coach who counts a number of world champions and Olympic medalists amongst her pupils. However a minimum of certainly one of her former skaters, Polina Shuboderova, has described Tutberidze as using extreme methods – similar to pressuring skaters to coach with minor accidents or requiring them to remain inside a half pound of a goal weight.

TASS, a Russian information company, reported that Tutberidze responded to questions on Valieva on Thursday by saying, “I don’t cope with gossip.”

What substance prompted the constructive take a look at?

Russian newspaper RBC is among the many media shops reporting that Valieva examined constructive for a substance referred to as trimetazidine, a heart medication used to treat angina and vertigo symptoms

The World Anti-Doping Company added trimetazidine to its prohibited record in 2014 as a result of it could enhance endurance and blood move. A WADA document cautions that hint quantities of the drug may be present in a kind of remedy used to deal with migraine complications.

RBC reported that the constructive take a look at at difficulty with Valieva was taken in December.

What has the IOC mentioned?

When requested about media reviews relating to Valieva, and a constructive doping take a look at, Adams mentioned Thursday that he had no further data.

“I am not going to touch upon all kinds of hypothesis,” he mentioned.

He declined to reply a number of follow-up questions in regards to the difficulty.

What have the ISU, different organizations mentioned?

The ISU, which oversees determine skating, released a statement Thursday however didn’t provide a lot perception.

“Referring to the current media reviews, referring to the Determine Skating Staff Occasion, the Worldwide Skating Union can’t disclose any details about any doable Anti-Doping rule violation,” the assertion reads. “That is in step with the ISU Anti-Doping Guidelines and IOC Anti-Doping Guidelines for Beijing 2022. The ISU will due to this fact not make additional feedback presently.”

The Russian Olympic Committee has not replied to an e mail from USA TODAY Sports activities looking for remark. A spokesperson for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, has referred reporters to the IOC.

“As at all times, not understanding the essence, everybody started to yell left and proper. We won’t be part of this orderly line of screamers,” he mentioned, in line with the Related Press.

What makes this case distinctive?

Past the high-profile nature of the athlete concerned, there are a number of different key wrinkles price mentioning.

First, the apparent: It entails an athlete from Russia, which is competing in Beijing below the title “Russian Olympic Committee” as a part of sanctions for its state-sponsored doping program. WADA investigators discovered that, amongst different issues, Russian brokers helped swap soiled urine samples for clear ones by passing them by a gap within the wall on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

Second is Valieva’s age. Anybody below 16 is taken into account a “protected individual” below WADA’s anti-doping code, which suggests they’re topic to lighter penalties and probably exempt from public disclosure rules.

The code stipulates that it’s non-compulsory to publicly announce anti-doping violations involving protected individuals, and that such bulletins “shall be proportionate to the information and circumstances of the case.”

What have athletes been informed?

A number of of the workforce medalists informed USA TODAY Sports activities on Wednesday they did not discover out in regards to the delay till moments earlier than they have been set to go to the ceremony and weren’t informed why it was delayed.

“We’re additionally very curious as to the standing of every thing,” Japanese ice dancer Tim Koleto mentioned Wednesday afternoon.

“Are you aware one thing?” his companion, Misato Komatsubara, requested a reporter.

A number of American skaters mentioned they have been additionally at nighttime.

“We have not actually heard something,” Zachary Donohue mentioned Wednesday. “We belief the individuals each within the IOC, ISU and all of the federations concerned to kind out no matter must be sorted out. And when it is the suitable time to tell us, we’ll know.”

Adams was requested Thursday about whether or not the delay of the ceremony, and thriller surrounding it, is truthful to the athletes concerned.

“We ask for and hope for the endurance and understanding of all of the athletes concerned right here,” Adams mentioned. “However it’s a authorized case. I’m sure by that authorized case … and I’m unable to say something extra.”

What occurs now?

If we’re studying the proverbial tea leaves right here, it is possible that any form of anti-doping difficulty can be appealed, and that such an enchantment can be heard by the Swiss-based Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which usually provides the ultimate say on worldwide sports activities disputes.

In regular instances, it could take weeks or months for CAS arbitrators to carry a listening to and launch their choice. Nevertheless, on the Beijing Video games, CAS has opened workplaces as a part of an advert hoc division to extra shortly cope with any points that may come up. The advert hoc division has already issued a number of selections for the reason that begin of the Video games.

Contributing: Christine Brennan; The Related Press

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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