As figure skater Kamila Valieva crumbled, NBC commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir stayed on point at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday.
The two excoriated the Russian officials around her while offering a glimmer of sympathy for the drug-tainted 15-year-old, whose numerous mistakes saw her slip from first to fourth in the final.
As they did in the short program, broadcasters mostly kept their distance during her routine, letting Valieva’s meltdown speak for itself. They sharpened their analysis while Valieva awaited her fate from the judges.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it was for Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her can’t make better decisions,” said Lipinski, who won gold at 15. in 1998. the consequences. And she’s just a teenager and that’s not fair. … That being said, she shouldn’t have been allowed to skate in that Olympic event.
Weir called it “the destruction of a youngster”.
As Valieva cried, Weir offered, “On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she went through. But that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been away from this competition.
Valieva was allowed to compete despite testing positive for a banned heart drug believed to increase endurance. She also revealed that she took two other heart medications that are not specifically prohibited.
The medal ceremony was to be suspended for the women’s figure skating event if Valieva finished in the top three, but that is now moot. “Thank goodness,” Weir said.
The Russian athlete was inconsolable. “Again, I blame the adults around him,” Lipinski said.
Weir congratulated “all the athletes who competed here cleanly, but it’s heartbreaking.”
The former Olympian said the people around her “should have protected her from this, stopped her from competing here”.