15-Year-Old Russian Figure Skater Cleared To Skate Despite Failed Drug Test

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was cleared to compete in the remainder of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing despite failing a drug test prior to the start of the Winter Games. The 15-year-old tested positive for trimetazidine on December 25, 2021.

Trimetazidine is used to treat people with certain heart conditions but is considered a banned substance by World Anti-Doping Agency because it increases blood flow and can give athletes a boost in endurance and stamina.

The sample was then sent to another lab in Sweden, but those results were not sent back to Russia until February 8, the day after Valieva helped lead Russia to a gold medal in the team figure skating event. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency gave Valieva a provisional suspension, which she appealed the following day.

On Monday (February 14), the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Valieva can compete in the women’s single skating competition on Tuesday. The CAS noted that she did not fail any drug tests during the Olympics and that because she is under 16, she is considered a protected person by the WADA.

Valieva is favored to win gold, but officials said they will not hold the medal ceremony after the competition if she does earn a spot on the podium.

“In the interest of fairness to all athletes and the NOCs concerned, it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 as it would include an athlete who … has a positive A-sample, but whose violation of the anti-doping rules has not yet been established,” the International Olympic Committee said.

The decision to let Valieva compete has outraged many people who want Russian officials punished for giving a banned substance to a teenager.

“The responsible adults should be banned from the sport forever,” Katarina Witt, the Olympic champion in women’s figure skating in 1984 and 1988, said, according to Yahoo! Sports. “What they knowingly did to her, if true, cannot be surpassed in inhumanity.”

“While WADA has not received the reasoned award, it appears that the CAS panel decided not to apply the terms of the Code, which does not allow for specific exceptions to be made in relation to mandatory provisional suspensions for ‘protected persons,’ including minors,” the WADA said.

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