Russian figure skating champs send message to Valieva
Figure skating stars Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Evgenia Medvedeva have offered public support to Winter Olympics sensation Kamila Valieva after the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) gold medal favorite reportedly found herself at the center of an International Olympic Committee investigation over an alleged doping sample result at the Beijing Games.
A test provided by the 15-year-old is said to be the subject of a legal wrangle that caused the postponement of a medal ceremony to present the Russian figure skating team with the Olympic title they won at the Games, with one report claiming that a non-performance enhancing drug was allegedly found in a sample provided by Valieva.
Ice great Tuktamysheva has a keen understanding of the competitive pressures facing Valieva, having won her world singles title as a teenager in Shanghai in 2015 and become European champion in the same year.
"I don’t know what you are experiencing now," Tuktamysheva told Valieva, sharing a photo of the exceptional figure skaters posing in front of a mirror. "But I understand how stressful it is... hold on, girl. Everything will be fine."
The pair have a strong relationship and were portrayed together on the ice at the Canada Grand Prix series in October 2021, when world record-setting Valieva edged Tuktamysheva into second place as part of an all-Russian podium completed by Alena Kostornaya – repeating the top-three lineup from the Finlandia Trophy earlier that month.
The 25-year-old was subsequently named as the first reserve for the ROC Olympic squad, who won the team competition on Monday.
Former junior world champion Valieva landed the first-ever quadruple jump by a female at a Winter Games as part of a huge role in the victory alongside teammates Mark Kondratiuk, Anastasia Mishina, Aleksandr Galliamov, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.
Two-time 2018 Winter Olympics silver medalist Medvedeva tipped Valieva for glory before the Games and has shared warm words with the prodigy after her past successes.
"Kamila, you know how I feel about you – words are superfluous," Medvedeva wrote on Instagram. "Everything I wanted to say you have already heard personally. I will always support you.
"This post is more for media representatives. Colleagues, I perfectly understand that you earn and clickbait is very important for you.
"I know how you can try to play ahead of the game for traffic and give false information. But maybe this time you will be more patient? Let's wait for the official news. I'm sure everything will be fine either way."
There is speculation that the Russian team could be stripped of their title because of the alleged doping result said to have been provided by Valieva, who will reportedly not be named if she is found guilty of any offense because her age would give her protected status.
Valieva is favorite to win the single skating competitions at the Games, which continue until February 20 2022.
A Kremlin spokesperson has told the public to await an announcement from the IOC rather than rely on unofficial reports ahead of the singles short program showpiece, which is due to take place on February 15, two days before the free skating event.
The IOC is expected to make an announcement about the situation on Thursday.
Tuktamysheva, who has missed out on Olympic selection three times, also responded to figure skating champion Nathan Chen's achievements in Beijing.
The Team USA star won his first ever Olympic gold in emphatic fashion, landing five quads as part of a wide singles victory.
"You are the greatest of all time," Tuktamysheva told Chen, sharing a photo of the three-time world champion receiving his scores. "Congratulations."