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17 Feb, 2022 16:56

US journalist pours scorn on Russian skater’s Beijing history

Christine Brennan was quick to question Alexandra Trusova's achievements in Beijing
US journalist pours scorn on Russian skater’s Beijing history

American journalist Christine Brennan has continued her attacks on Russian figure skating by seemingly calling into question the historic performance given by Alexandra Trusova on her way to silver in Thursday's figure skating program in Beijing. 

Trusova, 17, carved out a piece of history for herself by becoming the first woman in history to successfully to land five quads in a routine, as part of the 251.73 overall score she was given in the competition. 

But Trusova barely had time to remove her skates before she found herself in the crosshairs of Brennan, a USA Today reporter who has been a frequent and stinging critic of Russian athletes competing at the Winter Olympics. 

"[Men's star] Nathan Chen landed five quads last week. Alexandra Trusova just landed five quads tonight," wrote Brennan to her audience of 47,000 people on Twitter.

"Any gushing about the Russian's performance needs to mention this: she trains in the same camp with the same coach as Kamila Valieva. That coach is now under investigation."

Brennan was referencing the doping investigation involving 15-year-old Russian star Kamila Valieva, with figures around the teenager saying that her positive test recorded late last year was the result of cross-contamination with her grandfather's heart medication. 

Valieva tested positive in a sample taken from December 25, but which was only reported after she had competed in the team event in Beijing, winning gold with the ROC. 

Valieva was subsequently cleared to compete in the Beijing individual event following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which noted her status as a minor and the unresolved aspects of the case. 

Both Valieva and silver medalist Trusova train under the guidance of the renowned Eteri Tutberidze, who has trained numerous world-class figure skaters throughout her career including Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya as well as Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova.

Tutberidze is also the coach of Anna Shcherbakova, who claimed Thursday's gold medal with a score of 255.95. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto finished in the bronze medal position.

Valieva, meanwhile, had been favored to medal in the event but dropped out of the top three after several errors in her performance - in what will be taken as a sign that the intense media scrutiny had taken a toll on the teenager.