Russian skater Kamila Valieva falls and comes fourth after doping scandal

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva came fourth in the women's figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics, falling multiple times in her routine amid pressure over her role in a doping scandal.

Her teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova took first place and silver in the event with Japan's Kaori Sakamoto winning the bronze medal in the women's singles event.

Valieva was the favourite to win the gold medal but fell and stumbled through her free skate programme, a shock for the European figure skating champion who typically performs nearly flawless routines. She came first in Tuesday's short programme.

The 15-year-old has been at the centre of a doping scandal that has consumed the 2022 Olympics after she was briefly suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on 8 February after winning first in the team event.

It was revealed that a sample tested on 25 December 2021 during the Russian Figure Skating Championship had contained trimetazidine, an angina drug prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as a possible performance enhancer.

David J. Phillip/AP Photo
Anna Shcherbakova, of the Russian Olympic Committee, reacts after competing in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter OlympicsDavid J. Phillip/AP Photo

The drug has previously been used by athletes and is thought to potentially reduce fatigue and improve endurance.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday declined to impose a provisional suspension on Valieva, in part because she is considered a protected person by WADA at only 15.

The International Olympic Committee said in fairness to athletes, "it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony" for the team event and that if she finished amongst the top three competitors in the women's event, "no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony" would take place.

Valieva's case comes just three years after Russia was officially banned from competing in the Olympics due to a state-sponsored doping programme. Athletes instead compete under the Russian Olympic Committee.

An independent investigation ordered by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016 confirmed allegations of Russian state manipulation of the doping control process during the 2014 Sochi Games and before.

Additional sources • AP