Russian Kamila Valieva Allowed to Skate at Beijing Winter Olympics Despite Failed Drugs Test Angering Team USA

Young Russian figure skater at the center of a Olympic doping goods was cleared today to continue competing at the Beijing Olympics despite a failed drug test. But she won’t get any of the medals she might have won in China until her doping case is over — which could take months.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cited “exceptions” in its ruling recommending a ban on 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, saying banning her from playing in Beijing “would cause irreparable harm save her.”

This ruling was imposed by the chiefs of the US Olympic delegation, who complained that Russia was once again allowed to eliminate doping. And the International Olympic Committee, which ordered the ban, said it would withhold any medals the skater won, including last week’s team gold.

Valieva became the first woman to score a quad jump in an Olympic competition when she led Russia to victory in the team event last Monday, establishing herself as the individual gold nominee to be awarded. Favourite.

On Tuesday, as six skaters were preparing to claim their medals under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee – Russia itself banned for state-sponsored systematic doping – a laboratory in Stockholm informed the IOC that Valieva tested positive for the banned angina in a sample taken six weeks earlier.

According to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules, a violation will automatically result in a suspension, but the heads of Russia’s anti-doping agency decided to allow her to compete on Wednesday. .

WADA, the IOC and the International Skating Union jointly appealed against Russia’s decision. Their arguments were heard from afar by a three-member CAS arbitration panel, which ruled today that the Russians had their right to have the automatic suspension lifted.

“We are very disappointed by the messages this is sending,” said Sarah Hirshland, executive director of USOPC. “This appears to be another chapter in Russia’s systematic and widespread disregard for clean sport.”

Two factors seem to have shaken the three-man CAS panel that heard the Valieva case being barred from further competition in Beijing: unexplained delays in sample testing and her condition – because of her age. partner – as a “protected person” under WADA’s rule not to publicly name and shame failed tests.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, CAS Secretary-General Matthieu Reeb said the 44-day delay in testing Valieva’s anti-doping samples was “extremely regrettable” for both the Beijing Games organizers and this athlete. “In other words, we wouldn’t have had this if these anti-doping checks had been completed in a week or 10 days as usual,” he said.

“The panel found that preventing the athlete from competing at the Olympics would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances,” Reeb added.

Valieva will now go to the ice rink for tomorrow’s short show as a favorite to lead a Medal of Russia in private — and with the view of the world over her slender shoulders. The free program ends on Thursday.

Just 30 minutes after the CAS ruling was announced, the 15-year-old boy went to practice at a training ground near the Capital Indoor Stadium, where the figure skating competition is being held. At least 100 international reporters, photographers and camera crews were waiting for her.

The Stockholm laboratory discovered that Valieva’s sample, taken during the Russian national championships in St Petersburg on December 25, contained the banned substance trimetazidine, which can be used to enhance blood flow and endurance. The CAS referees made no judgment on whether she knowingly took the drug but ruled that a Russian disciplinary panel acted in its right by allowing her to skate in Wednesday last week.

Reacting to the CAS decision, the IOC accepted that it had no choice but to let Valieva compete, but warned her case has not yet been properly examined and she could face some sort of punishment. punish.

Accordingly, they have decided to delay the medal ceremony of the team event until after the Olympics, when the investigation is complete. The awarding of medals and flowers for the individual event will also be cancelled, the IOC said, should Valieva win a place on the podium. The IOC has also asked the ISU to allow 25 skaters to enter skating for free on Thursday if Valieva is among 24 who qualify for tomorrow’s short program.

The World Anti-Doping Agency seems to be as angry as the IOC about the failure of the CAS. The agency complained that the CAS ruling went against the WADA Code, which did not allow for the abolition of “mandatory temporary suspension orders” even for “protected persons”.

WADA also blamed the delay on Valieva’s sample testing on Russian anti-doping officials, who failed to mark the sample as a priority sample when it was sent to the laboratory in Stockholm in December.

And it announced that WADA’s “Independent Intelligence and Investigations Bureau” will directly investigate Valieva’s “support staff” – understood to be the coaches at her super successful Moscow team, including Eteri Tutberidze, who has coached a series of young Olympic and world champions. Under the WADA Code, any individual found to be providing a banned substance to an athlete under the age of 16 will face a lifetime ban from competition.

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