Vladimir Putin’s government came out in defense of skater Kamila Valieva, involved in a convoluted doping case at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
“Walk proudly, perform and win,” was the message from Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, in the face of the 15-year-old athlete’s provisional suspension following a positive test.
Peskov noted that the Kremlin stands “infinitely and completely” behind Valieva, as it is convinced that everything is “a misunderstanding”.
The 15-year-old tested positive for a banned substance on December 25, although the results did not come to light until earlier this week.
There is ongoing legal wrangling with an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.The International Testing Agency (ITA) - on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) - has appealed the lifting of Valieva’s suspension by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), which had allowed her to continue to train.
“We want to expedite this as quickly as possible,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. “It’s a legal issue and legal issues unfortunately can be very complicated.”
The Russian gymnast’s case is going around the world for multiple reasons: doping, of course, but also her young age and the fact that she achieved the first quadruple jump in Olympic history.
Valieva is a great talent, but today she is at the center of a dispute partly unrelated to sports.
Valieva was tested during the Russian Figure Skating Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Christmas Day by RUSADA.
An accredited lab in Stockholm, Sweden, reported a finding of the prohibited substance trimetazidine on Tuesday, February 8, which was after the team competition had concluded. That necessitated the postponement of the awards ceremony, which set the skating world buzzing.
She was provisionally suspended by WADA, which prohibited her from competing, training, coaching or participating in any activity. The ITA pointed out that it is not managing this case because it happened ahead of the Winter Games.
The teenager challenged the provisional suspension before the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee on Wednesday and a hearing took place that same day. RUSADA decided to lift the provisional suspension. The reasoned decision has not yet been released.