IOC & WADA ‘destroyed’ Valieva, says skating icon
Former ice dance world champion Alexander Zhulin has said that international sporting authorities will have to live with the consequences of "ruining" Russian star Kamila Valieva's Olympic dreams after her doping case ordeal in Beijing.
What was expected to be Valieva’s crowning triumph in the Chinese capital turned into a nightmare for the 15-year-old after a positive test for a doping sample taken in December was reported during the Games.
Valieva was cleared for continued competition by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the positive result for heart medicine trimetazidine emerged after she had already won gold with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in the team event in Beijing.
After putting on a valiant performance in Tuesday's short skate routine to lead the field in the women's individual event, Valieva seemed badly impacted by the scandal in a bitterly disappointing free skate program on Thursday, leading her to finish fourth overall as countrywoman Anna Shcherbakova claimed the gold and fellow Russian Alexandra Trusova won silver.
Zhulin congratulated the Russian medalists but his thoughts were also very much with Valieva.
“This is a tragedy. What they have done is the destruction of a child and a person. I have never seen Kamila so lost. Now they have to live with it,” said Zhulin, who won ice dance silver at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
“Congratulations to Shcherbakova on her brilliant skate, Sasha Trusova was also a fantastic performance. They were amazing.
“I expected Kamila to cope with all this, but all the [tension] prevailed. Whatever they wanted to do, they’ve done it. The IOC [International Olympic Committee] and WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] destroyed and removed the biggest star of figure skating. It’s enough to make anyone cry,” added the 58-year-old.
The IOC and WADA, along with the International Skating Union (ISU), had sought to have a ban imposed on Valieva in Beijing, before a CAS panel ruled that the star should compete in the individual event, citing her age and the late timing of the test result, as well as the unresolved investigation.
The doping probe in question was taken on December 25 and analyzed at a WADA-accredited laboratory in Sweden, but the result was only revealed after Valieva had helped the ROC to win team gold.