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Kamila Valieva’s team blames grandpa for 2022 Olympic doping scandal

Kamila Valieva’s lawyers are blaming her failed drug test, at least in part, on her grandfather. 

After the IOC’s daily press briefing Tuesday morning, head of the IOC disciplinary committee Denis Oswald revealed the basis of Vailieva’s defense argument she and her lawyers gave to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Sunday. 

“I was not in this hearing,” Oswald told reporters. “Her argument was this contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking.”

Just hours after the 15-year-old Russian figure skating star led the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to the team event gold medal, Valieva’s failed test surfaced, throwing her remaining Olympic eligibility into question. 

Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication that could help with endurance. Her positive result came from a urine sample that was taken at the Russian national championships on Dec. 25, but the Stockholm lab entrusted with testing it did not confirm/flag the result for about six weeks.

Kamila Valieva falls while practicing before the women’s single skating short program on Feb. 15, 2022.
AP
Kamila Valieva practices before the women's single skating short program on Feb. 15, 2022.
Kamila Valieva practices before the women’s single skating short program on Feb. 15, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency said it was notified of the failed test on Feb. 7 – the same day Valieva, who became the first woman to ever land a quad jump (doing so twice), led the ROC to the team gold medal. 

After learning of her positive test, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency immediately imposed a ban against Vailieva from competing, a decision they quickly reversed. The International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union all appealed the decision to lift the ban, resulting in a hearing held by the Court of Arbitration of Sport on Sunday. 

After a three-person panel heard testimony from Valieva and her lawyers, it was announced Monday that Valieva would be allowed to compete in the individual competition, which started Tuesday morning and ends Thursday. No medal ceremony will occur if Valieva, who is heavily favored, takes one of the top three spots. The medal ceremony for the team event, which Valieva helped the ROC win, was also postponed. 

“These days have been very difficult for me, and I’ve run out of emotions,” Valieva told reporters at practice on Monday about 30 minutes after the ruling. “I’m happy, but emotionally I’m tired.”

In the ruling, the Court of Arbitration of Sport “considered fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm and the balance of interests.” They announced “dignified” medal ceremonies would be held once Valieva’s case is fully concluded. 

The panel was not charged with deciding if Russia should keep the team gold medal, nor the question of whether Valieva was guilty of knowingly using a banned drug. Instead, the panel examined if Russia acted improperly in lifting its suspension on Valieva.


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Kamila Valieva talks with her coaches before the women's single skating short program on Feb. 15, 2022.
Kamila Valieva talks with her coaches before the women’s single skating short program on Feb. 15, 2022.
Getty Images

The ROC claimed that Valieva had “repeatedly passed doping tests” prior to the positive result on Dec. 25. In its ruling, the Court of Arbitration of Sport did question the “serious issues of untimely notification of the results.”

“Only after due process has been followed can it be established whether Ms Valieva infringed the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and would have to be sanctioned,” the statement said.



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