Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Stanislav Pozdnyakov has offered his support to figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze, after receiving criticism from IOC chief Thomas Bach following the drama surrounding Kamila Valieva in Beijing .
At a press conference on Friday, Bach accused Tutberidze of creating a “icy atmosphere” after 15-year-old Valieva finished fourth in the women’s individual event, crashing several times as the pressure from her doping case seemed to take its toll.
But ROC chairman Pozdnyakov joined Tutberidze’s defense as the Beijing Games came to a close on Sunday.
“It is hard to imagine how much effort it takes for Eteri Georgievna year after year to cultivate such unique talents, to find the strength, energy and motivation for exceptional work at such a high level with athletes of different character and style. It is worth a lot,” Pozdnyakov said in a post summarizing the ROC team’s accomplishments in figure skating.
“And I fully share those words of support that have been spoken over the past few days by our skating community.”
Tutberidze has come under scrutiny after it was reported that gold medal favorite Valieva tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine in a sample taken in December, but that was only confirmed after the teenager helped the ROC claim gold in the team event in Beijing.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have both said they will investigate Valieva’s entourage in connection with the case.
Russian figure skating officials and Tutberidze said they were convinced of Valieva’s innocence in the matter and received widespread support in Russia.
The 47-year-old coach has also coached Russian skaters Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, who won gold and silver respectively in the women’s individual event in Beijing.
“Anna Shcherbakova was amazing! Brilliant performance, confident champion. And, of course, just out of this world Sasha Trusova. It is a pity that two gold medals cannot be awarded. She, of course, had a unique and fiery drive. 5 quads is forever in history,” added Pozdnyakov, who also drew attention to other ROC figure skating successes in Beijing.
“Let’s get back to emotions. They were very strong. In the team tournament, they performed brilliantly, were head and shoulders especially…
“We have great pairs in pair skating and ice dancing. Very artistic and technically brilliant. I am happy that three pairs won medals in individual tournaments in Beijing at the same time. »
Comments come after IOC boss Bach claims Tutberidze treated Valieva “coldly” after his Olympic disappointment. The coach reportedly asked Valieva why she passed out so much after her crash, although Tutberidze was seen consoling the young skater as she waited for the scores to arrive.
“When I later saw how she was received by those closest to her with what seemed to be immense coldness, it was chilling to see that,” he added. Bach claimed.
Since those comments, Tutberidze has also seen Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov move closer to gold for a “magnificent” showing in the pairs event where they pocketed the cash.
Tutberidze herself responded to Bach’s comments in a response to an Instagram post in her support.
“I am very grateful for the words of support,” Tutberidze said after a message from fellow Russian coach Alexander Zhulin.
“At this moment I am at a loss at the assessment of our work by the esteemed Mr. Bach.”
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