Russian Figure Skater Kamila Valieva in Gold Medal Spot After Women’s Short Program

Kamila Valieva looks like she will claim two gold medals by the time she leaves the Beijing Winter Olympics, although whether she will ever get hold of them remains to be seen by everyone.

The young Russian figure skater entangled in the Olympic doping line is in first place after Tuesday’s individual short show and will be entering freestyle on Thursday as a clear favorite. clear in front of teammate Anna Shcherbakova.

If the 15-year-old wins the title, or even stands on the podium, the International Olympic Committee has warned it will cancel any medal ceremonies until the doping allegations against her have been resolved. fully tested. Depending on the outcome of that poll, she could be denied any medals by Beijing.

Valieva became the first woman to hit the quad jump in an Olympic competition when she led Russia to a gold medal in the figure skating team event last Monday — before news of her testing positive. with heart drugs in a sample taken at the Russian national championships in St. Petersburg on December 25.

Then there was a dispute between the Russian team leaders, the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) over whether the teenager should be allowed to play again in Beijing. An international arbitration panel ruled in her favor, both because of the unusual delay in processing her doping sample and because at the age of 15 she was considered a “protected person” under the rules. WADA rules.

After what must have been the longest week of her young life — including a seven-hour doping appeal Wednesday night that ran until 3 a.m. — Valieva appeared nervous as she walked out. hit the ice at the Capital Indoor Stadium, stumbling heavily in an axel treble early in her routine before stabilizing herself. Her emotions were clear – she burst into tears while still on the rink and again as she left the rink – but she still racked up 82.16 points, more than her nearest opponent. seven points at the time.

Shcherbakova, the 17-year-old world champion who trains with Valieva under coach Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow, looks good for her overhaul. But despite delivering a standout performance of the night — playful, precise, and without flaws — the judges judged her down on the technical difficulty of her routine. She was second with 80.20 points.

Team Tutberidze had hoped to win a medal in the individual event, but Russia’s third skater, Alexandra Trusova, also tripled and was in fourth place behind Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto.

It emerged today that Valieva’s defense in the doping case is based on the claim that she must have accidentally taken some of her grandfather’s heart drugs.

The lawsuit, reported by the Dossier Center, a website run by exiled Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, says Valieva’s lawyer, Anna Kozmenko, had told an anti-doping hearing that the skater’s grandfather took the drug trimetazidine – which can improve blood flow – to treat heart problems. Kozmenko said there are different ways it can enter her body: “For example, [her] Grandpa drinks something from the glass, saliva comes in [and] These glasses were later used by a certain athlete. “

Experts consulted by the website dismissed the claim as “inconclusive” but also said it was unclear why the drug was used for doping in the first place. It improves blood flow and oxygen to the heart but can cause tremors and loss of coordination in teenagers — not ideal for Olympic figure skaters.

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