Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is blaming her grandfather’s heart medication for a positive drug test two months prior to the start of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
On Tuesday, Denis Oswald, permanent chair of the International Olympic Committee’s Disciplinary Commission, said that Valieva made the argument at the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing on Monday.
“Her argument was this contamination happened with a product her grandfather was taking,” Oswald said according to Reuters.
According to Russian outlet The Dossier Center, Valieva’s lawyers argued that the amount of banned substance in her system was negligible and that it entered into her system accidentally.
“There can be completely different ways how it [trimetazidine] got [into Valieva’s body],” Valieva’s lawyers said. “For example, grandfather drank something from a glass, saliva got in, this glass was somehow later used by an athlete. Or the drug lay down on some surface, traces remained, then the drug lay down on this surface, which the athlete then drank.”
Last Wednesday, the medal ceremony for the team figure skating event was delayed due to a reported positive drug test from the gold medal-winning Russian team.
It quickly emerged that the 15-year-old Russian figure skater reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. According to Russian media, the substance was trimetazidine, used to treat chest pain, and was found in a sample collected two months prior to the Olympics.
According to Reuters, “Trimetazidine is listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of metabolic modulators and is prohibited both in and out of competition.” It is used in order to treat angina, which causes severe pain in the chest.
On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport declined to provisionally suspend Valieva, citing her age, the timing of the failed test, and the threat of “irreparable harm” to the athlete.
“The Panel considered fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm, and the relative balance of interests as between the Applicants and the Athlete, who did not test positive during the Olympic Games in Beijing and is still subject to a disciplinary procedure on the merits following the positive anti-doping test undertaken in December 2021; in particular, the Panel considered that preventing the Athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances,” the CAS said in a media release.
In an unprecedented move, the International Olympic Committee announced that should Valieva win another gold medal, no medal ceremony would be held. A decision will be made on Russia’s team figure skating gold medal once the case has been resolved, which could take months.
“These (past few) days have been very difficult for me,” Valieva said after practice on Monday. “It’s as if I don’t have any emotions left. I am happy but at the same time I am emotionally tired.”
On Tuesday, Valieva finished atop the ladies’ singles after the short program, with the free skating medal event taking place on Thursday. Prior to the short program, NBC commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski expressed their disappointment in the decision to allow Valieva to skate.
“We have to remind ourselves that she is just 15 years old, a minor, and I know more than anyone what it’s like to compete at an Olympic Games at 15 years old,” Lipinski told viewers. “But a positive [drug] test is a positive test. She cannot skate.”
“The Olympics were everything that I ever dreamed about, everything that kept me going on the day-to-day,” Weir said, “and to have that experience and that feeling … diminished because of a positive drug test on one of your competitors when everyone else adheres to the rules … it’s a slap in the face to every other skater.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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