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Kamila Valieva’s Olympic Future On Stake at Beijing Winter Olympics

Kamila Valieva, a figure skater from Russia, burst into tears during an upsetting practice session at the Olympics on Saturday.

After testing positive for a prohibited drug, the Olympic future of the 15-year-old Russian athlete is in doubt. This week she will participate in the women’s competition after winning gold in the team competition five days earlier. If she is allowed to compete while under investigation, she would be a strong contender for yet another gold medal.

Why Kamila Valieva Was Suspended?

During a run-through of her brief program, Valieva stumbled on a triple axel, a leap she normally accomplishes without issue. A triple flip and a triple toe loop followed, and she skated to the boards and hugged Eteri Tutberidze, her coach, with tears falling down her eyes.

An application from the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Olympic Committee against Valieva’s permission to participate was received by the Court of Arbitration on Saturday. After testing positive for a prohibited substance, she received an immediate suspension from the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, but it was swiftly removed.

As of Saturday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) expressed its desire for a speedy resolution to the issue by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but no date had been set. In Beijing, CAS has two Olympic-specific courts in operation.

WADA generally handles such appeals, but IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said that the IOC’s involvement was an indication that they wanted the issue resolved as fast as possible.

“Strictly speaking we didn’t have to, Adams said at the daily news briefing, but it does impact quite a lot on the Olympic Games here in Beijing and we thought it was important that we were involved in the process.

Valieva’s position In the Case

Valieva’s position as a juvenile, which provides her with anti-doping rulebook safeguards, has made the legal procedure very time-sensitive.

In a sample taken in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 25, Valieva came back positive for trimetazidine, a prohibited angina drug, which she had used to win the Russian national championships the day before. RUSADA, also known as The Russian Anti-Doping Agency was in charge of collecting the sample.

A WADA-approved facility in Stockholm, Sweden, was used to conduct the testing. The Stockholm laboratory alerted RUSADA of a positive result for Valieva’s doping test on Monday, shortly after her skating had enabled the Russians to clinch the Olympic team event.

It’s not clear whether the analysis was slowed down by the winter holidays in Russia or Sweden, or by an uptick in COVID-19 omicron variant cases in Stockholm. According to RUSADA, lab personnel in Sweden have been unwell or have been placed in isolation due to the coronavirus. RUSADA immediately imposed a temporary suspension on Valieva as a consequence of the positive test result. As of this writing, the team event medal celebration set for Tuesday night has been canceled.

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