Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva goes for a second title in Beijing amid doping scandal

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva goes for a second title in Beijing amid doping scandal

15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who is currently at the center of the latest Olympic doping scandal, is aiming for her second gold in Beijing in the women’s free skate today.

But Valieva won’t get a gold medal even if she finishes first after being caught for a doping violation.

Other skaters competing will also not be able to enjoy a medal or flower ceremony if a Russian teenager is in the top three amid the scandal.

“Results will be marked with an asterisk because they will be preliminary, obviously pending investigation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “Could we rather not have all this happen? Absolutely.’

The awards ceremony for the figure skating team event, where the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team won gold with the help of Valieva, was canceled after it was revealed in December that the Russian teenager tested positive for trimetazidine.

Figure skating teams from the USA and Japan, who took second and third places in the team competition, are disappointed that they still have not been able to win well-deserved medals.

In response, IOC President Thomas Bach offered U.S. figure skaters Olympic torches as spare gifts while they wait for a doping case in Russia that prevents them from receiving their silver medals.

15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who is now at the center of the latest Olympic doping scandal, is aiming for her second gold in Beijing in the women's free skate today.

15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who is now at the center of the latest Olympic doping scandal, is aiming for her second gold in Beijing in the women’s free skate today.

Ahead of the women's free skate on Thursday night, Valieva had a rough day after she fell to the ice during her final practice session.

Ahead of the women’s free skate on Thursday night, Valieva had a rough day after she fell to the ice during her final practice session.

Timeline of the doping scandal that rocked the Olympics

December 25, 2021: 15-year-old Valieva gives a sample during a figure skating competition in Moscow, which is taken by the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA and sent to a laboratory in Sweden for testing.

February 7, 2022: Valieva wins gold during the team figure skating competition in Beijing, becoming the first woman to land a quad jump.

February 8: The World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Sweden reports that a December 25 sample tested positive for the banned substance TMZ.

This causes an automatic ban from RUSADA, which prevents it from participating in the rest of the Olympic Games.

Team Skating Awards Ceremony Postponed

February 9: Valieva appeals this decision and RUSADA lifts her suspension, allowing her to compete in singles on February 15.

February 10: The International Olympic Committee appeals Russia’s decision and the case is referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

11 February: The International Testing Agency, which is handling the case on behalf of the IOC, confirms that Valieva is the athlete involved.

Previously, he kept her identity under anti-doping regulations because she was underage.

The IOC is calling on judges to make a decision by February 15, when Valieva is due to compete.

February 13: The Court of Arbitration for Sport holds a hearing in which Valieva claims the positive test was caused by her grandfather’s medications.

February 14: Skater cleared to compete because officials say she is a “protected person” who could be “irreparably harmed” by the ban.

February 15: Valieva returns to the rink with the women’s short program in which she takes first place on the leaderboard despite disruptions.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled this week that Valieva committed a doping violation after one of her samples taken in December tested positive for trimetazidine. The result was not announced until last week, shortly after she helped win the team gold medal, which is now also in question.

But the court allowed her to continue participating in the event, saying she was a “protected person” who could be “irreparably harmed” by the ban.

Olympic officials then announced that she would no longer be awarded medals at the games and that the figure skater awards ceremony would be canceled if Valieva finished in the top three.

Her positive result was announced after she won gold in the team event, causing the awards ceremony to be cancelled.

Ahead of the women’s free skate on Thursday night, Valieva had a rough day after she fell to the ice during her final practice session.

This is due to the fact that the decision of the court to allow Valiev to compete cast an ambiguous shadow on one of the landmark events of the Winter Games.

‘Do I feel sorry for her? I do not think so. I wouldn’t say that,” said Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, who placed third after the short program.

“I am focused on competition. At the moment, I generally try not to think about such things. Of course, there were moments when I thought: “What will happen? What’s happening?”

Valieva claimed that trimetazidine, which caused a positive result, got into her body by accident. But the World Anti-Doping Agency has filed a brief report on two other substances it has admitted to be ingestion, L-carnitine and hypoxene, even though both are legal, debunking the argument that the banned substance may have been ingested by mistake.

Hypoxene is used to increase blood flow to the heart, and L-carnitine is an oxygen-boosting performance enhancer that is prohibited when administered above certain thresholds. When these substances are combined with trimetazidine, it is “a sign that something more serious is going on,” said US Anti-Doping Agency Director-General Travis Tygart.

“You use it all to improve performance,” Tygart said. “This completely undermines the credibility of Valieva’s defense.

Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach presented Olympic torches to US team silver medal-winning skaters as a parting gift while they wait for a doping case to be resolved, the Associated Press reported late Wednesday.

Two people familiar with the events said that Bach, in a private meeting with the skaters in Beijing that lasted about two hours, reaffirmed the IOC’s position that there would be no award ceremonies in the competition involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was confidential.

IOC officials did not respond to requests for comment on Bach’s meeting with the team.

“It’s definitely disappointing,” said Karen Chen, who competed in the team event and placed 13th after the short program on Thursday night.

“I was really looking forward to being on the podium with my teammates and just sharing this moment, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt that way. So definitely, definitely disappointing.”

Valieva falls during the last practice before the women's free skate on Thursday

Valieva falls during the last practice before the women’s free skate on Thursday

Valieva (pictured during Thursday's workout) will not receive a gold medal even if she finishes first after being caught for a doping violation.

Valieva (pictured during Thursday’s workout) will not receive a gold medal even if she finishes first after being caught for a doping violation.

ROC figure skater Kamila Valieva during a training session at the capital's indoor stadium as part of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Thursday.

ROC figure skater Kamila Valieva during a training session at the capital’s indoor stadium as part of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Thursday.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement confirming that a meeting between Bach and the skaters had taken place, “however, the details and content of this discussion must remain between them.”

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams echoed the USOPC statement at his daily briefing Thursday in Beijing and said he would not comment further.

Men’s champion Nathan Chen and his US teammates finished second to the Russians in the team event last week, but the result quickly turned around when reports surfaced that Valieva had used a banned drug.

The nine-man US team could receive at least silver, but could also receive gold if Valieva is disqualified. The skaters had already received boxes to store their medals when they learned that the ceremony would not take place.

People familiar with the meeting said that the torches used during the traditional Olympic torch relay have already been handed over to the team staff to be later handed over to the athletes.

Following the CAS decision, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirschland said the federation was “disappointed with the message this decision sends” and suggested that the athletes were denied the reassurance that they were competing on equal terms.

ROC figure skater Kamila Valieva during training at the capital's indoor stadium as part of the 2022 Winter Olympics

ROC figure skater Kamila Valieva during training at the capital’s indoor stadium as part of the 2022 Winter Olympics

While the doping case around her continues to unfold, Valieva tries to go about her business as usual, taking part in every training session on schedule.

And although she looked calm and collected during her short program, it seemed that the tension finally took over her when she came off the ice and burst into tears.

Despite her performance, which included a wobbly triple Axel, left her in first place by nearly two points.

Valieva refused to speak to reporters after the short program, though she will have to attend a press conference if she finishes in the top three on Thursday night.

In her only public comment so far, Valieva told the Russian state-run Channel One on Monday evening that “these days have been very difficult for me. I’m happy, but I’m tired emotionally.”

Valieva plans to succeed in her free program, set to Bolero by early 20th-century French composer Maurice Ravel. The leader of the Russian national team “Quadruple Squad” is trying to perform three jumps from four revolutions: a quadruple salchow in the first jump pass, a combination of a quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop and a combination of a quadruple toe loop-triple salchow.

Valieva’s program has the highest base value, by far, of anyone in the field, meaning she would have to miss a few hops and have uncharacteristically poor performance to rank anywhere but first.

Her closest rival, teammate and world champion Anna Shcherbakova plans to start with a quad flip, while Alexandra Trusova has planned an ambitious program of five quads in her free skate, trying to overtake third-placed Sakamoto and give the Russians the first flip. women’s figure skating in the history of the Olympic Games.

“If I skate cleanly, there is a chance that I will take Olympic gold,” Trusova said. – If not, then no. My goal is to skate cleanly.”

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