Russian Valieva Can Compete in Olympics but Won’t Receive Medals

The 15-year-old Russian figure skater at the center of a doping scandal at the Beijing Olympics, Kamila Valieva, will be allowed to compete again, but there will be no medals or award ceremonies for any event that she wins until her case is resolved. 

Valieva was cleared to compete again despite having tested positive for a banned angina drug. The ruling descended the Winter Games into bitterness. 

The court of arbitration for sport said that there were “exceptional circumstances” surrounding the case and that banning her while the investigation continues would cause her irreparable harm. 

Valieva became the first woman ever last week to land a quad jump at the Olympics. She inspired the Russian Olympic Committee to victory in the team event and is slated to win the gold in the women’s single skating competition this week. 

The drug in question, Trimetazidine, is used to treat angina and is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of metabolic modulators. It is banned from use in competitions, as well as outside of competitions.

The decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was limited to the sole question of whether Valieva should be allowed to compete in Beijing. It was not about whether her urine sample contained a banned drug. Therefore, there remains a possibility that she is still banned in the coming months, and could even lose all medals won in the Olympics. 

The IOC said it will not hold victory ceremonies for team or individual figure skating events. It’s a controversial decision, and many in Beijing believe it unfairly punishes athletes from all other teams. 

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee immediately condemned the decision. The American skating team took home the silver after the Russians in the team event.  The president of the US Olympic Committee, Sarah Hirshland, said it was another time that Russia shows a disregard for clean sport, and that athletes have the right to compete on a level playing field. 

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