Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva finished fourth in the women’s figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics, falling several times in her routine under pressure from her role in a doping scandal.
Her teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova took first place and silver in the event, with Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto taking bronze in the women’s singles event.
Valieva was the favorite to win the gold medal but fell and stumbled in her free skate program, a shock for the European figure skating champion who typically performs nearly flawless routines. She came in first in Tuesday’s short program.
The 15-year-old was at the center of a doping scandal that devoured the 2022 Olympics after she was briefly suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on February 8 after claiming first place in the team event .
A sample tested on December 25, 2021 during the Russian Figure Skating Championship was revealed to contain trimetazidine, an angina drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as a performance enhancer possible.
The drug has already been used by athletes and is thought to potentially reduce fatigue and improve endurance.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport this Monday refused to impose a provisional suspension on Valieva, in part because she is considered a WADA protected person at just 15 years old.
The International Olympic Committee said in fairness to the athletes, “it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony” for the team event and that if she finished among the top three competitors in the women’s event , “no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony” would take place.
Valieva’s case comes just three years after Russia was officially banned from competing in the Olympics due to a state-sponsored doping program. Athletes instead compete under the Russian Olympic Committee.
An independent investigation ordered by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2016 confirmed allegations of Russian state manipulation of the doping control process during the 2014 Sochi Games and before.