Kamila Valieva takes fourth place in women's figure skating competition
Russian teen figure skater Kamila Valieva finished fourth in the women's individual figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics, days after she was cleared to participate in the Games despite testing positive for a banned drug.
She finished at the top of the leaderboard on Tuesday after the women's short program, but fell multiple times during her routine on Thursday.
Her Russian Olympic Committee teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova took gold and silver. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto finished in third place. Team USA's Alysa Liu finished seventh, Mariah Bell took 10th and Karen Chen had 16th.
Following the event, many of the skaters appeared to be in disbelief as Valieva broke out in tears. Her fourth place finish allowed for a podium celebration to take place after the International Olympic Committee said there would be no medal ceremony if she placed in the top three.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication, trimetazidine, in Russia in December, but her test result only came to light last week. She was cleared after the Court of Arbitration for Sport said the investigation into the doping offense would take months to resolve and it gave a favorable decision for her in part because she was a minor or "protected person," making her subject to different rules from an adult athlete.
The decision drew condemnation from USOPC president Sarah Hirshland and accusations of racial bias from American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson, who wasn't allowed to run in the Tokyo Olympics because she tested positive for THC, an ingredient found in marijuana.
An Olympic official said there was a mix-up with Valieva's grandfather's heart medication, which contained the banned substance. However, The New York Times obtained a document that revealed her sample included three substances used to help the heart, raising suspicions over the explanation.
Former U.S. Olympic figure skater and Bell's coach Adam Rippon said the decision to allow her to compete in the Games was a "complete slap in the face" to clean athletes, but expressed how "heartbreaking" it was for the 15-year-old skater to be center of the situation.
"It is so no fair to her, but the people around her completely failed her," he said.
“A complete slap in the face”: Former U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon condemned the decision to let Russian teen skater Kamila Valieva compete in the Beijing Olympics after her positive drug test. https://t.co/7aPaexJYZx pic.twitter.com/CU5xTDlQco
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 16, 2022
The issue made headlines after causing a medal ceremony delay in the women's team figure skating competition, where Russia finished in first, in part because of Valieva's strong performance. The IOC has since said there would be no medal ceremony for the event.
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