The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) refused to impose a suspension on the teenager
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is free to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected requests to impose a suspension on the teenager, in a case involving a doping sample positive taken in December.
The decision comes just a day before the women’s singles figure skating event in Beijing, where 15-year-old Valieva is the favorite for gold and can now compete.
In announcing the decision, CAS cited Valieva’s status as a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code due to him.
He also noted that Valieva had not tested positive in Beijing and that imposing a suspension on her from the Games would result in “irreparable harm in these circumstances”.
Referring to the fact that Valieva’s result from the anti-doping investigation taken on December 25 was not reported until February 8 – after she competed and won gold in a team event in Beijing – the CAS said there was “serious problems” with regard to the “unwanted notification” of the outcome, which hampered Valieva’s ability to establish a legal defense.
The welcome verdict for the Russian team in Beijing comes after the CAS held an emergency hearing at a hotel in the Chinese capital on Sunday, which took place late at night, and where Valieva herself had testified by video link.
The case centered on a positive doping test for trimetazidine, a banned heart drug, in a sample taken during the Russian national championships in December.
The test result – which came from a WADA-accredited laboratory in Stockholm – took more than six weeks to come out, and came after Valieva had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win gold in the figure skating team event in Beijing.
Valieva was initially suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), but that decision was overturned on appeal.
In an attempt to ban Valieva again, WADA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Skating Union (ISU) had taken their case to a special CAS panel in Beijing.
The IOC had said earlier on Monday that it would accept any CAS decision. Reigning European and Russian champion Valieva is now free to take to the ice when the women’s individual event begins at Capital Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
Valieva’s status as a favorite for individual gold had already been reinforced by her dazzling performance in the team event earlier in the Beijing Games.
Valieva produced a spellbinding short skating routine before becoming the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympics in her free skate performance.
But the medal ceremony for that event was delayed as Valieva was forced to face immense speculation as her legal case unfolded.
Members of his team, including coach Eteri Tutberidze, said they had “without a doubt” on the youngster’s innocence, while the ROC noted that Valieva had taken doping tests several times before and after her positive result in December.
Questions have been widely raised as to why it took so long for the positive test result to be reported, which is believed to have stemmed from Covid-related delays at the Swedish lab in question. Valieva’s coach Tutberdize and ROC chairman Stanislav Podznyakov had noted the unusual circumstances surrounding the delayed test result.
Anti-doping officials explain mysterious Valieva test delay
After Valieva won her legal battle, the intense media scrutiny placed on the teenager is unlikely to fade as attention will now turn to how the ordeal affects her performance on Tuesday. The teenager was due to take to the ice for training in Beijing just 30 minutes after the CAS decision was announced.
Team ROC will also be represented in the women’s singles event by 2021 world champion Anna Shcherbakova and quad jumping star Alexandra Trusova.
After the short skating programs on Tuesday, the event will conclude with the free skate routines on Thursday in Beijing.