Winter Olympics 2022: Doping scandal haunts Russia again, figure skater tests positive for banned substance

Russia's Kamila Valieva at the Winter Olympics. (PC: Getty Images)
Russia's Kamila Valieva at the Winter Olympics. (PC: Getty Images)

The doping scandal continues to haunt Russia as skating superstar Kamila Valieva has tested positive for a banned substance at the ongoing Winter Olympics. The teenager was touted as one of Russia's gold medal prospects in figure skating.

Russian media reported that Valieva tested positive for a heart medicine, which has a banned substance in its components, before the Winter Olympics. The test was reportedly taken in December last year.

Valieva reportedly consumed trimetazidine, a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks and treats vertigo. It is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it can help endurance and increase blood flow efficiency, and either effect could help a figure skater.

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The Russian figure skater's sample was obtained before she won the European championship in January in Estonia. It was a performance that solidified her status as the leader of Russia's "quad squad" of elite women's figure skaters.

The International Skating Union, the sport's governing body, said in a statement that it "cannot disclose any information about any possible anti-doping rule violation." It is unclear whether Valieva applied for a therapeutic use exemption to use a substance or has a history of heart problems.

Valieva's case is even more complicated because minors suspected of antidoping rule violations are protected from being identified under the World Anti-Doping Code.

Urgent CAS hearing to decide skater's Winter Olympics sojourn

Valieva’s right to compete in the women’s event at the Beijing Winter Olympics will be decided at an urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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The International Testing Agency, which runs the athlete-testing program for the Olympics, said it will lead an appeal on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The appeal will be against a decision by Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) to lift a provisional ban imposed on the teenager for failing a doping test in December.

The positive test was notified by a laboratory after Valieva helped Russia win the team event, but before the medal ceremony, which was then postponed. Whether the Russians will lose their gold medal in the team event will be decided later.

The United states finished second, Japan third and Canada fourth in the event.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman