Russian skater’s doping case to be heard Sunday at Olympics
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will find out Monday if she can skate in the Winter Olympics women’s competition, which starts a day later.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Saturday that the expedited hearing on Valieva’s doping case will be held Sunday night in Beijing, with a ruling by Monday afternoon.
The 15-year-old skater, the favorite to win the gold medal, broke down in tears after an emotional practice session Saturday.
Valieva’s status at the Olympics became unclear after she tested positive for the banned heart medication, trimetazidine, in Russia in December. She won a gold medal in the team event five days ago, before the test result was known, and is scheduled to compete as an individual Tuesday.
Valieva fell during practice on a triple axel — a jump she typically executes without a problem — while doing a run-through of her short program. She later landed two combos, a triple flip-triple toe loop and a triple lutz-triple toe loop before skating to the boards and giving her coach, Eteri Tutberidz e, an emotional hug.
Earlier Saturday, the highest court in sports confirmed it has received appeals from both the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency challenging Valieva’s right to compete.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency gave her an automatic ban after testing positive. A day later, RUSADA lifted the provisional ban. The IOC filed an urgent appeal, which the Court of Arbitration of Sport will hear Sunday.
“It was sending a signal that we want this solved as quickly as it can be,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
The legal process is unusually complex because of Valieva’s status as a minor, which gives her protections in the anti-doping rule book.
Because Valieva is only 15, her ultimate penalty could be as little as a reprimand. Her entourage of coaches and doctors face more scrutiny because the World Anti-Doping Code mandates they are automatically put under investigation.
Valieva tested positive in a sample given on Dec. 25, when she won the Russian national championships.
That sample was the responsibility of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, known as RUSADA. It was sent to a WADA-approved laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, for analysis.
On Monday — hours after Valieva’s skating helped the Russians win the Olympic team event — the Stockholm lab notified RUSADA the test was positive.
The CAS panel of three judges will consider only the request to re-impose the interim ban on Valieva.
Whether the Russian team keeps the gold medal in the team event will be decided later.
The full investigation of the doping case is for RUSADA to handle and could take months. That could also be appealed to CAS.