Winter Olympics: Thomas Bach disturbed by Kamila Valieva’s “chilling” treatment

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OC chairman Thomas Bach says he was disturbed by the “frightening” way a distraught Kamila Valieva was treated by her coach following the women’s figure skating.

The 15-year-old Russian crashed twice to finish outside the medals in fourth place.

After his exit from the ice, his trainer Eteri Tutberidze shouted in Russian: “Why did you give up? Explain to me, why? Why did you stop fighting completely? Somewhere after the axel, you let him go.

Speaking on Friday, Bach said: “I have to say I was very, very disturbed when I watched the competition on television when I then saw how it was received by those closest to it with this which seemed like an enormous coolness. It was chilling to see that.

“Rather than comforting her, rather than trying to help her, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance. If you interpreted the body language, it was even worse. It was even dismissive.”

Figure skating and the Games more broadly have been overshadowed by Valieva’s situation. It was revealed the day after the team figure skating competition that she had tested positive for a drug used to treat patients with angina from a sample taken on Christmas Day.

She was provisionally suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, but this was lifted on appeal and she was eventually cleared to compete by a panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport sitting in Beijing.

Despite an error in the short program on Tuesday, she came in first in yesterday’s free program but escaped the medals with an error-strewn performance.

Valieva’s training partner, Alexandra Trusova, was also caught up in the controversy afterwards, shouting, “I’m never going out on the ice again,” after she finished with the silver medal.

And Bach said, “I was thinking about that last night. How can you really be so cold with your athletes? When I saw and read how Trusova was treated, when I read her comments, I’m afraid the impression I got last night was not the wrong one.

Valieva’s Bolero routine was full of mistakes and falls as she retired from medal contention

/ Getty Images

“All this does not give me much confidence in Kamila’s closest entourage. Neither in terms of what happened in the past, nor in terms of the future, how to cope and deal with an underage athlete at the age of 15 under such obvious stress.


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