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CAS Rules for Kamila Valieva, Russian Star Allowed to Continue Competing in Beijing

The IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union all wanted the 15-year-old Valieva ejected from the Olympics after it was revealed that she had tested positive for trimetazidine.

Court of Arbitration for Sport director general Matthieu Reeb makes an announcement regarding Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva at the Main Press Centre at the Beijing Olympics on February 14. (Tyrone Siu/REUTERS)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled for Russian Olympic Committee skater Kamila Valieva on Monday, February 14 in the case over her failure of a drug test before the Beijing Olympics.

The IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union all wanted the 15-year-old Valieva, who helped lead the ROC to gold in the team event and is favored to win the women’s singles crown this week, ejected from the Olympics after it was revealed last week that she had tested positive for trimetazidine at the Russian Championships in December.

A delay in the reporting of the results from a WADA-accredited lab in Stockholm complicated matters. A hearing was held on the case via video conference on Sunday evening in Beijing with all of the relevant parties included.

Valieva was given a provisional suspension by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on February 8 when the test results were revealed, but appealed the decision by RUSADA and the ban was lifted.

Valieva is by no means out of the woods in this case, however, as the star will still be subject to a disciplinary hearing about the failed test at some point after the Olympics have concluded. She could still be stripped of her gold medal from the team event, and any medal she wins in singles.

The CAS listed four points in ruling for Valieva in a press release on the matter:

  1. The Athlete is a “Protected Person” (a minor) under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC).
  2. The RUSADA Anti-Doping Rules and the WADC are silent with respect to provisional suspension imposed on protected persons, while these rules have specific provisions for different standards of evidence and for lower sanctions in the case of protected persons.
  3. The Panel considered fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm, and the relative balance of interests as between the Applicants and the Athlete, who did not test positive during the Olympic Games in Beijing and is still subject to a disciplinary procedure on the merits following the positive anti-doping test undertaken in December 2021; in particular, the Panel considered that preventing the Athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances.
  4. The CAS Panel also emphasized that there were serious issues of untimely notification of the results of the Athlete’s anti-doping test that was performed in December 2021, which impinged upon the Athlete’s ability to establish certain legal requirements for her benefit, while such late notification was not her fault, in the middle of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Valieva’s disqualification could have impacted the results of the team event, where the United States finished with the silver medal and Japan with the bronze. It also would have affected the competition for medals in the women’s singles.

Papadakis and Cizeron Win Ice Dance Gold

France’s Gabrielle Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the gold medal in ice dance on Monday at Capital Indoor Stadium with a strong skate in the free dance. The duo retained their lead after the rhythm dance and won with a total score of 226.98 points.

Papadakis and Cizeron are four-time world champions. They took home the silver medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics four years ago.

The ROC’s Victoria Sinistina and Nikita Katsalapov claimed the silver at 220.51, while Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States captured the bronze on 218.02.

Papadakis was overwhelmed after the victory.

“I think we don’t believe it yet, ” Papadakis stated. “Honestly it feels completely unreal. We have been waiting for this. This is the medal that we wanted. My brain doesn’t understand it.”

Papadakis said, after taking silver in 2018, that the two had only one goal.

“We worked a lot. We built upon the last Olympics,” Papadakis commented. “We started winning everything and knew it was possible. 

“For years this was the only medal that we wanted and the past four years were just about that moment,” Papadakis continued. “We worked a lot and it was very hard.”

Japan’s Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto were eliminated Sunday after failing to qualify for the free dance. They finished 22nd of the 23 couples who competed.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world’s foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, here, and find him on Twitter @sportsjapan.

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