- Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva in training
- Russian newspapers say angina drug found in 15-year-old’s sample
- IOC declines to comment, cites legal proceedings
- International Skating Union says ‘cannot release any information’
- Russians mobilize on social networks behind Valieva
BEIJING, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva showed up for her scheduled training at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday after Russian media reported the 15-year-old had tested positive for a banned substance . Read more
The teenager was part of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) ensemble that won the figure skating team event on Monday, ahead of the United States and Japan. The ceremony to present her and her teammates with their Olympic medals has since been delayed for unexplained legal reasons.
Dressed in a navy hoodie, black tights with shorts over them and her hair tied up in a bun, Valieva hit the ice cream just after 11 a.m. His coach Eteri Tutberidze was also present.
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Despite the pressure around her, the teenager has performed quadruple jumps in training, having become the first woman to perform a quadruple jump at the Olympics in her team’s winning performance on Monday.
Valieva declined to answer questions in the mixed zone, the area where reporters interview athletes after competition.
Russian media reported Wednesday that Valieva had returned a positive test, with RBC and Kommersant newspapers naming the drug Trimetazidine, which is typically used to treat chest pain.
Repeated attempts to reach the ROC mission chief by Reuters were unsuccessful. His phone was unresponsive and the ROC office in Beijing was locked and unstaffed on Thursday. On Wednesday, the ROC declined to comment on reports that Valieva had returned a positive test.
At a press conference on Thursday, the IOC repeatedly declined to answer questions, citing concerns about legal process. A spokesperson for the Russian Figure Skating Federation declined to comment. Just like the International Skating Union (ISU), citing anti-doping rules.
With the United States and Japan waiting in the wings for their medals and fans eager to see their teenage idol compete again next Tuesday, the matter is further complicated by the fact that she is only 15 years old. . read more
According to WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code, athletes who commit doping violations must be publicly named, but this is not mandatory if the person concerned is a minor under the age of 18.
In this case, according to Rule 14.3.7, any optional public disclosure “must be proportionate to the facts and circumstances of the case”.
David Howman, the former chief executive of the AMA, told Reuters parental consent is required before minors are tested.
“It’s any organization’s worst nightmare for athletes to compete and then return a positive test during the Games,” Howman said.
“It’s very unusual for a positive test to be returned between competition and the medal ceremony. Usually an athlete in this position would be immediately disqualified, but that didn’t happen here.”
He said the only time he remembered a ceremony not taking place was when South African Caster Semenya won the 800m at the World Championships in Athletics in Berlin.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams asked for patience and understanding from fellow figure skaters as the court case unfolds. He said Olympics officials would work as quickly as possible to organize the medal ceremony.
“We understand the athletes involved want a good outcome,” Adams said.
Fresh off his stunning win in men’s figure skating, America’s newest ‘Rocket Man’ Nathan Chen said he can’t wait to hear what has finally been decided.
“Whatever will eventually be the case will be,” he said.
Russian athletes are taking part in the Beijing Games without their flag and national anthem, due to sanctions against Russia for past violations.
Russia has acknowledged some shortcomings in its implementation of anti-doping rules, but denies having a state-sponsored doping program in place.
Valieva delivered one of the highlights of the Beijing Games so far when she landed the first quadruple jumps by a woman in Olympic competition.
Figure skating is a prestige sport for Russia, in which it has an exceptional record at the Olympic and world championships. Any decision to penalize Valieva or strip the team of its medals would likely cause a national outcry.
Prominent journalist Vasily Konov, deputy general producer of Russian sports channel Match-TV, said without citing sources that the sample in question was taken two months ago.
“The drug trimetazidine does not help an athlete in any way. At all. It was found in a single sample in December. A trace amount. Nothing in his samples before or since,” he wrote on social media. .
“There is no doping in the conventional sense of the word. No! This heart medication has no impact on…performance. Now leave Kamila alone.”
Former Russian pair skater Tatiana Volosozhar, who won two gold medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, showed solidarity with Valieva on social media, calling for the use of the Russian hashtag #Iwillneverbelieve to send adolescent support.
Her post was “liked” on Instagram by Valieva herself as Russian figure skating fans reacted in dismay.
Trimetazidine, or TMZ, works by increasing blood flow to the heart and limiting rapid fluctuations in blood pressure. The drug is not approved for use in the United States. It has been on WADA’s Prohibited Substances List since 2014.
“It’s not a drug you would accidentally take, not something you would normally be prescribed, and not something a 15-year-old would be expected to be prescribed,” Howman said. .
“It’s very disappointing and a real shame that Russians continue to test positive at major events after everything this country has been through.”
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Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Julien Pretot and Sakura Murakami in Beijing; Maria Kiselyova and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; and Michele Gershberg and Julie Steenhuysen in New York; Written by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Leela de Kretser and Michael Perry
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