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Russian Figure Skater Kamila Valieva Receives 4-Year Ban for Doping; Olympic Gold in Question

Russian Figure Skater Kamila Valieva Receives 4-Year Ban for Doping; Olympic Gold in Question
Kamila Valieva competes in the women’s free skate event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on February 17, 2022.
Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, initially cleared of doping accusations after the 2022 Winter Olympics, has now been handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas). The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) had initially found no fault on Valieva’s part for a failed test, but Cas upheld an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The ban is retroactive to December 25, 2021, the date of Valieva’s failed test, and all competitive results achieved from that date will be disqualified. The Cas panel clarified that the decision to strip Russia of the gold medal won by the team figure skating event in Beijing is not within its scope and must be determined by other sports organizations.

Valieva, who is now 17, tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine in December 2021. She had become a global sensation for landing a quadruple jump at the Winter Olympics, contributing to Russia’s team gold.

Despite the provisional ban being initially lifted, Cas ruled that Valieva failed to establish, with evidence, that the Anti-Doping Rule Violation was not intentional. The Kremlin criticized the decision, and the Russian Olympic Committee stated that a “war has been declared on Russian sport.”

The International Skating Union welcomed the Cas decision, while Wada emphasized the unforgivability of doping in children. Wada called for accountability for those providing performance-enhancing substances to minors and encouraged legislation making doping of minors a criminal offense.

In a surprising turn, the US Olympic Committee anticipates being awarded the gold medal for the team figure skating event in Beijing. The IOC informed the committee of this decision, recognizing Team USA’s clean competition.

The doping scandal adds another chapter to Russia’s history of doping violations, with Cas reducing a previous ban that allowed Russian athletes to compete as neutrals. The decision raises concerns about Russia’s participation in the upcoming Paris Olympics and highlights the challenges in maintaining confidence in anti-doping efforts.

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