Valieva Gamely Presses on Amid Olympic Doping Controversy

Valieva Gamely Presses on Amid Olympic Doping Controversy initially appeared on NBC Sports activities Washington

The 15-year-old determine skating star on the middle of Russia’s newest doping scandal, now stretching towards its second week and a few type of decision, appears to be the one individual on the earth with out a phrase to say about it.

As an alternative, Kamila Valieva continues to gamely apply on the Beijing Olympics amid a sea of media and digital camera crews because the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport decides whether or not she is even allowed to compete this week. An expedited listening to was scheduled for Sunday evening, with a ruling anticipated someday Monday.

Valieva has but to overlook a scheduled apply since a drug take a look at taken in December was flagged final Monday for traces of a banned coronary heart medicine. That was the identical day the reigning European champion helped the Russian skaters win crew gold with a dynamic free skate through which she grew to become the primary girl to land a quad in Olympic competitors.

It hasn’t at all times been simple to plug alongside because the world implodes round her, although. On a number of events, the stress appeared to have gotten to Valieva, together with a second throughout Saturday’s apply session when she fell throughout a triple axel and ultimately skated to the boards and tearfully hugged her embattled coach, Eteri Tutberidze.

“Kamila is a powerful woman,” supplied Russian ice dancer Nikita Katsalapov, who alongside along with her associate, Victoria Sinitsina, have tried to offer Valieva some much-needed help as three males in a Beijing resort determine the destiny of her Olympic desires.

A technique or one other, Valieva will know quickly whether or not she might be allowed to compete within the ladies’s quick program on Tuesday. A call by CAS is predicted roughly 24 hours earlier than the overwhelming favourite to win the gold medal is due on the ice at Capital Indoor Stadium; she drew the twenty sixth beginning spot Sunday among the many 30 within the occasion.

“Victoria had a couple of minutes to share some phrases along with her,” Katsalapov stated. “(Victoria) requested her to, like, relax just a bit bit, even when it’s a tough scenario round her proper now.”

Valieva has but to talk to the media because the information convention following the Russians’ crew gold, when the seemingly unbeatable star appeared each bit the precocious teenager. Between questions, she was snapping photographs and texting with buddies on her pink-cased cellphone, whereas squeezing tightly the plush Bing Dwen Dwen mascot given to every medalist.

Her pleasure was unmistakable: “All of us did such job,” she gushed. “I’m very pleased with my crew.”

Now, all their gold medals dangle within the stability, unlikely to be determined till lengthy after the Olympics have ended.

The closed-loop system of the Olympic bubble, put in place to reduce the unfold of COVID-19, has had the unintended consequence of giving Valieva some peace away from the rink. There aren’t any folks staking out the Olympic Village, making an attempt to get even the shortest sound chunk, offering her a little bit of sanctuary from the nonstop information cycle.

Most critics taking to social media have largely supported Valieva, too, leveling their ire as an alternative at Russian coaches and directors chargeable for her well-being. That features Tutberidze, who additionally coaches teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, and who has earned a status for utilizing up and discarding her younger athletes.

“Let’s be sort to the 15-year-old who produced a constructive drug take a look at as a result of she lives in an institutionalized system the place she was probably guided and trusted the adults round her,” tweeted Mirai Nagasu, a member of the U.S. determine skating crew 4 years in the past on the Pyeongchang Video games.

Ashley Wagner, one other American determine skater who competed on the 2014 Sochi Video games, was appalled that Russia is on the middle of one other doping scandal but appears to repeatedly get a move from the Worldwide Olympic Committee.

Wagner additionally took intention at a skating tradition that always champions youngsters with little regard for his or her long-term well being.

“Sure, a 15-year-old could be mature, and have a life that’s already stuffed with unimaginable experiences, however nonetheless, she is a child,” Wagner stated. “She’s not the primary child put on this place and he or she gained’t be the final except we begin taking this critically.”

On the middle of the firestorm is Valieva, a excessive schooler with fuzzy pink skate guards and a beloved Pomeranian pet again house. She did an ideal run-through of her record-setting quick program throughout Sunday’s early apply on the predominant rink, then returned for a second session on the close by apply rink a couple of hours later.

At one level, as dozens of cameras clicked for photos, Valieva reached down and touched the ice.

The wait is on to see whether or not she will be able to once more on the Olympics.

“It’s at all times dangerous when one thing like that occurs, so we’re very sorry for any athlete,” Russian ice dancer Gleb Smolkin stated. “I believe like everybody else, we’re simply ready for the outcomes of this story. We want Kamila all the most effective. She’s an incredible athlete, she’s an incredible skater. She has a vivid future.”


Related Press author Sally Ho contributed to this report.


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