Valieva opens up on Beijing ordeal for first time
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has broken her silence after being cleared to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, admitting that her doping case ordeal has left her feeling emotionally drained.
Valieva will line up for Tuesday’s women’s individual event in Beijing after an emergency hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) declined to impose a suspension on the 15-year-old for a positive doping sample taken in December.
The result of the test was only reported last week, after Valieva had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold in the team event in Beijing.
Speaking to Russian TV, the teenager has now broken her silence about her week-long ordeal.
“These have been very difficult days for me, it’s already as if I don’t have enough emotions,” a tearful Valieva told Channel 1.
“That is to say, I’m happy, but at the same time emotionally tired.
“There are tears of happiness, but perhaps with some sadness.
“Despite that of course I am happy to be at the Olympics and try to represent our country.
“I hope that I will do that to the maximum… I intend to show my results [in my performance].
“I was sitting for seven hours [at the CAS hearing], we had a 20-minute break, I sat and observed. It was very tough.
“Evidently it’s one of the stages that I have to overcome,” added the young star.
Valieva said she was grateful for the surge of support in her homeland.
“I open Instagram and I see so many kind messages and wishes and so much belief.
“I even saw billboards in Moscow saying ‘Kamila We Are With You’, it’s very nice during a difficult time for me, this support is important,” Valieva said.
The teenager also noted the backing from her coaches and teammates in Beijing ahead of the start of the women's singles event on Tuesday, where she is favorite for the gold medal.
CAS ruled against suspending Valieva in Beijing despite requests to do so from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Skating Union (ISU) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
A CAS panel – which convened on Sunday in Beijing and heard the case late into the night, including evidence from Valieva via video link – said that banning Valieva at the Games would cause "irreparable harm in these circumstances.”
CAS cited Valieva’s status as a “protected person” under the WADA Code due to her age, and referred to the fact that Valieva’s positive result from the doping probe taken on December 25 was not reported until February 8 – after she had competed and won gold in the team event in Beijing.
CAS said there were “serious issues” regarding the “untimely notification” of the result, which hindered Valieva’s ability to establish a legal defense, and pointed out that the star had not returned a positive test at the Beijing Games.
Russian officials have noted that Valieva consistently passed doping tests before and after her result for traces of the banned heart medicine trimetazidine – something which many argue would not even confer performance-enhancing benefits, particularly in a sport such as figure skating.