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18 Feb, 2022 14:24

Olympic figure skating champ explains muted celebrations

Anna Shcherbakova has discussed how she felt after the greatest achievement of her career so far
Olympic figure skating champ explains muted celebrations

Figure skating champion Anna Shcherbakova has admitted she "lost" emotions after her Beijing Winter Olympic Games triumph and kept her celebrations muted at the end of a gruelling campaign dominated by teammate Kamila Valieva's anti-doping case.

World champion Shcherbakova earned her first Olympic medal by taking the individual title on Thursday, finishing ahead of Alexandra Trusova, who became the first female to land five quad jumps at the Olympics on a day that should have been euphoric for the gifted Russian trio taking part.

The event was overshadowed, though, by the controversy surrounding pre-Games favorite Valieva.

European champion Valieva had been allowed to compete in the singles following a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearing over a positive drug test she submitted at the Russian championships on December 25.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had opposed Valieva's continued participation and declared that no medal ceremony would take place if the 15-year-old achieved a podium position in the individual event.

Valieva and her Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) teammates do not know whether the gold medal they won in the team event, which was held a day before her positive result was announced, will stand.

The prodigy led the field going into the final individual event but produced an error-heavy performance to finish fourth before leaving the ice distraught.

“It’s hard to say how I would feel if there was no drama," Shcherbakova confessed to Championat after what is likely to have been a bittersweet experience for the 17-year-old sensation.

"I wasn't ready to be happy. It's like all emotions are gone. I was not upset [and] did not hesitate to rejoice – [my] emotions just ended. I just lost them."

The Russian figure skaters faced a test of their physical and emotional health as they spent days awaiting the CAS verdict on whether Valieva could skate on.

There has been intense media speculation and scrutiny of the young stars, as well as coach Eteri Tutberidze, who guides Valieva and Shcherbakova, and Russian sporting authorities.

Trusova appeared anguished and audibly said she wanted to quit the sport after the event, and there are fears for Valieva's future ahead of what could be a lengthy wait for a resolution to her case over a heart drug which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Shcherbakova sounds more certain about carrying on in the sport after her latest stunning success.

"I want to go to the World Cup [in France in March]," she said. "I don't even feel like the competition is over now.

"There is no feeling of finished work. Let it be for now. I will not think about new titles. We must continue to work."