Why was Kamila Valieva allowed to skate?

Sport’s top court has released the full 41-page report supporting its ruling that excluding Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian star skater who faces possible disqualification for doping, from the Olympics would have risked causing her a ” irreparable harm”.

“None of this is the athlete’s fault,” the panel wrote.

Full details of the decision of the three-person emergency panel of the Court of Arbitration for Sport were released hours after Valieva’s stunning fall in the women’s free figure skating competition on Thursday. The International Olympic Committee; the International Skating Union, the sport’s governing body; and the World Anti-Doping Agency had filed an appeal with the court asking for Valieva’s suspension.

Valieva led the Russian team to victory in the team figure skating event on February 7 before officials confirmed she had tested positive for a banned substance at the Russian championships in December. This revelation has since turned the Beijing Olympics upside down and turned Valieva into a lightning rod for the Games’ biggest scandal.

In its report, the court said it decided Valieva could continue skating at the Olympics because she was not responsible for the delay in providing a conclusive result by the Stockholm lab that analyzed her sample. This result came after Valieva had already skated in Beijing. Court attorneys also said that as Valieva was underage, they had considered the likelihood that she would only face a reprimand, rather than a suspension, if found guilty of a doping violation.

The panel’s comment was scathing about the 44 days it took the Stockholm lab to deliver the results, noting that Valieva had tested negative twice since then – on January 13 and February 7 – with those results having come more quickly. . . The Swedish lab blamed the delays on staff shortages related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“None of this is the fault of the athlete, and it has put her in a remarkably difficult position where she faces a life of work taken away from her days after the biggest event of her short career. “, wrote the panel in its 41-page judgment.

Still, the panel’s decision was not a verdict on whether the banned drug trimetazidine, known as TMZ, entered her system by mistake, as she claims, or was part of a doping program.

The court report said Valieva failed to provide evidence to support a claim by her mother and her legal team that the positive test could have been the result of contamination from sharing dishes. or drinking from the same drink as his grandfather, who allegedly took TMZ after heart replacement surgery. The court, according to the report, did not receive any proof of purchase, medical records or prescriptions.

Earlier on Thursday, the Russian Olympic Committee president said the country would fight any effort to redistribute medals in the team figure skating competition, even if Valieva is ultimately disqualified for doping.

The doping case has upended the figure skating event, with the IOC scrapping the medal ceremony for the team competition and saying there will be no podium ceremony for the women’s event if Valieva finishes in medal position. By the time Valieva took to the ice for the women’s free skate on Thursday, in a contest she was a favorite for, the stress of the past week seemed to have taken its toll.

She hesitated a lot, slipping on the ice several times, in an error-strewn performance that ended in her breaking up in tears and falling to fourth place.

The court panel said Valieva, along with the other athletes who were affected by the case, were victims of a broken system.

“Simply put, athletes should not be placed at risk of serious harm caused by the failure of anti-doping authorities to operate effectively at a high level of performance and in a manner designed to protect the integrity of the operation of the Games” , the panel wrote. .

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