Winter Olympics 2022: Russia rocked by doping report, Kamila Valieva named in ROC team

Winter Olympics 2022: Russia rocked by doping report, Kamila Valieva named in ROC team

A 15-year-old megastar has been dragged into the middle of a Winter Olympics scandal as Russia is once again put in the spotlight.

The medals ceremony for the team figure skating at the Winter Games was delayed by a legal issue, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday, before reports emerged of a doping issue within the Russian team.

The Russian Olympic Committee or ROC — known as such because Russia’s anthem, flag and name were banned from major competitions as a result of the nation’s brazen state sanctioned doping program — won the gold medal with the United States taking silver and Japan bronze, but the ceremony was removed from its scheduled slot on Wednesday.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams cited a “legal consultation” with the sport’s governing body, the International Skating Union, as the reason for the delay.

“We have athletes that have won medals involved,” Adams said at the daily IOC media briefing, without giving further details.

“Everyone is doing absolutely everything that the situation can be resolved as soon as possible.

“As you know, legal issues can sometimes drag on.”

Some of the skaters involved in the team competition are also taking part in the men’s singles event, which finishes on Thursday, after which they would leave China.

As mystery continued to swirl around the situation, reports emerged on Thursday morning (AEDT) of a positive drug test by a skater within the ROC team.

Respected Olympics website Inside The Games exclusively reported 15-year-old sensation Kamila Valieva was at the centre of the legal issue responsible for the hold-up.

According to USA Today, one of the skaters on Russia’s six-person team had tested positive to a banned substance and Russian media then reported Valieva was that skater.

Russian newspapers RBC and Kommersant said Valieva had tested positive to Trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina — a chest pain caused by lack of blood flow to the heart.

The Kremlin was asked about the situation and spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Let’s, for the sake of understanding, wait for some explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC.”

Russian journalist Vasily Konov, deputy general producer at sports channel Match-TV, addressed the reports on social media.

“The drug trimetazidine does not help an athlete in any way. At all. It was found in one single sample in December. A minuscule amount. Nothing in her samples before or since,” he wrote.

“There is no doping in the conventional sense. No! This cardiac drug has no impact on … performance. Now leave Kamila in peace.”

Ex-Russian pairs skater Tatiana Volosozhar, who won two gold medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, threw her support behind Valieva on Instagram as she called for people to use the hashtag #Iwillneverbelieve. Valieva herself “liked” Volosozhar’s post.

Inside The Games reports under the World Anti-Doping Code, 15-year-old Valieva is a “Protected Person” — meaning “an athlete who at the time of the anti-doping rule violation: has not reached the age of 16” and who can’t be officially identified by sporting or doping authorities if found guilty of a violation.

Valieva has blown minds in Beijing, making Winter Olympic history earlier this week by becoming the first figure skater ever to execute a quadruple jump – a difficult and highly technical move.

Her spectacular program, which earned her a score of 178.92, more than 30 points ahead of second place Kaori Sakamoto, skyrocketed the ROC team to gold.

Valieva’s incredible talent at such a young age has seen her labelled a “freak of nature” and a “once in a lifetime” competitor.

“I’m having a hard time finding the proper words but she is absolutely mesmerising,” commentator Johnny Weir, a two-time figure skating Olympian said.

“She can inspire the world with performances like that. She skates with the best women in the whole world … and it felt like she was the only one on the ice.”

Channel 7 commentator Emma Freedman said her performance was “so beautiful to watch”.

“She is a freak of nature if we are being honest. Landing the first quadruple lutz in Olympic competition. She gets an Olympic gold at 15 years old,” she said.

With AFP

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Author: Shirley