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May 20, 2022
Valieva Misses Out On Podium Spot In Women’s Figure Skating Final Amid Doping Controversy
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Valieva Misses Out On Podium Spot In Women’s Figure Skating Final Amid Doping Controversy

Topline
Russian skater Kamila Valieva finished with fourth best score in the women’s single skating event at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday after a disappointing free skate program, a surprising result which comes amid controversy about her alleged doping violation.

Kamila Valieva of Team ROC reacts after skating during the Women Single Skating Free Skating on day … [+] thirteen of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium.

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Key Facts

Valieva scored 141.93 in the free skating program which comes after her top score of 82.16 in the short program on Tuesday.

Valieva’s final score of 224.09 also carries an asterisk and will be considered provisional until the investigation into her alleged doping offense is completed.

The 15-year-old stumbled at least four times during her routine and appeared teary-eyed as she left the ice.

Valieva’s Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova thoroughly dominated the free skate program and ended up winning the top two spots with final scores of 255.95 and 251.73, respectively.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto finished with a score of 233.13 to take the final spot on the podium.

The top three will be awarded their respective medals at the Games as the International Olympic Committee had said they would not hold a medal ceremony only if Valieva placed in the top three.

Key Background
On Tuesday, Valieva recovered from an early stumble in her short program to take the top spot going into Thursday’s free skate round. Her participation in the event took place amid major controversy after a sample collected from her in December tested positive for the banned heart drug, trimetazidine. Valieva was allowed to participate in the single skating event after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in her favor on Monday. The International Testing Agency (ITA) had challenged the Russian anti-doping agency’s earlier decision to overturn an interim ban on the 15-year-old but the CAS ruled that Valieva should be allowed to compete due to certain “exceptional circumstances.” These circumstances included her young age and the delayed notification of her test result—which she received just last week.

Crucial Quote
On commentary during NBC’s broadcast of the event, Former U.S. Skater Tara Lipinski—who won an Olympic gold medal at the age of 15 herself—said: “It makes me angry that the adults around her weren’t able to make better decisions.” She added that Valieva “should not have been allowed to skate in this Olympic event… Thank goodness for all the other medalists to have that moment.”

Further Reading
Russian figure skater falls to shock 4th in women’s final after Winter Olympics doping saga (NBC News)

Kamila Valieva falters and finishes fourth. (New York Times)

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