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Kamila Valieva competes in the women's free skate on February 17.
Kamila Valieva competes in the women’s free skate on February 17. (Peter Neufel/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)

Kamila Valieva fell several times in Thursday’s free skate event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, with many figure skating fans in attendance feeling for the 15-year-old.

Under the heavy load of a huge doping scandal, Valieva finished fourth in the women’s individual event, while her Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) teammate Anna Shcherbakova grabbed the gold.

Valieva – who was the clear favorite to finish in first place after coming out on top of Tuesday’s short program – broke down in tears as she left the ice when the past few days appeared to catch up with her spirit.

Loud chants of “Kamilla, Kamilla, Kamilla” came from the stands as a tearful Valieva was consoled by coach Eteri Tutberidze as she made her way down the rink.

Former US Olympic figure skater Polina Edmonds offered her support to Valiev on twitter,

“Very painful Olympic experience for Kamila Valieva. She shouldn’t have been allowed to compete, it’s devastating that she was placed in this position, at all levels.”

Shcherbakova, a skater who competed directly with Veliva in the final, said she felt “panic” seeing her teammate skate.

“I looked at Kamila but probably didn’t understand what I was feeling,” said the 17-year-old. “Of course, I was very nervous for him to skate because from the very first jump it was clear that the skate was going to be very hard and I completely understand what an athlete feels in those moments.”

Why was Valiva even allowed to compete? The doping controversy was the main thing as he struggled to maintain his run and wrote the next chapter in a story that is sure to rumble far beyond the Beijing Games.

The Russian figure skater has been at the center of a doping scandal that can be traced back to December 2021, when a 15-year-old tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine, which experts say can increase endurance.

Veliva has sought to blame the positive test on contamination from a drug taken by her grandfather, an IOC official familiar with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing, which on Tuesday approved Valieva for the rest of the Games. had given

However, the test was only analyzed and reported to Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in February, resulting in Valieva’s suspension on 8 February.

A day after his suspension, Valieva helped ROC win a gold medal in the figure skating team event.

Valieva was reinstated after an appeal, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) allowed her to compete at the Olympics. CAS said in a statement that it has decided that Valieva should be allowed to compete due to “extraordinary circumstances”, including specific provisions relating to her status as a “protected person” – because she is a minor. – Under the World Anti-Doping Code.

Read more:

Why Kamila Valieva's 'Very Painful' Skating Controversy Matters


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