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Young Russian Olympic skater Valieva practices amid banned substance report

International Olympic Committee has said legal talks are ongoing with the ISU on the issue
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women’s team free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Figure skating’s governing body has declined to address reports that the 15-year-old who helped the Russians win gold in the team event at the Beijing Olympics previously tested positive for doping.

Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian superstar expected to deliver her nation its third straight Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating, practiced Thursday, hours after reports that she tested positive for a banned substance.

The International Skating Union says it “cannot disclose any information about any possible anti-doping rule violation.”

The International Olympic Committee has said legal talks are ongoing with the ISU on the issue, though it gave no more details.

Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before the Beijing Games, the Russian newspaper RBC reported.

The sample was reportedly obtained before Valieva won the European championship last month in Estonia, a performance that solidified her status as the leader of Russia’s “quad squad” of elite women’s figure skaters headed to Beijing.

It’s unclear if Russia is appealing or fighting the result. Her appearance at practice implies that the federation isn’t accepting the ruling.

A positive test could cost Russia the gold medal from the team competition and threaten Valieva’s chance to win the individual competition that starts Tuesday. She is the heavy favorite.

Because Valieva is younger than 16, she can’t be officially identified if she is guilty of a doping violation, according to the World Anti-Doping Code.

The sample was reportedly obtained in December, when the 15-year-old Valieva was still in Russia but did not come to light until after she had helped her team win the gold medal with dynamic performances in her short program and free skate.

The drug, Trimetazidine, is used to to treat angina — a type of chest pain marked by reduced blood flow to the heart — and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a stimulant. It is the same drug that was involved in a Russian bobsled case at the 2018 Olympics that ended in a settlement and an athlete accepting an eight-month ban.

It is unclear whether Valieva has any heart problems.

Valieva on Monday became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics and landed two quads in her long program. Singles skater Mark Kondratiuk, pairs skaters Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov, and the ice dance duo of Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov also competed in the team event for the ROC.

A medal ceremony scheduled for Tuesday was canceled without explanation. The U.S., led by Nathan Chen’s spectacular short program and two top-ranked ice dance performances, finished second and Japan finished third in the event. If the ROC is disqualified the other teams would move up, putting fourth-place finisher Canada into third.

— The Associated Press

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