Olympics: Kamila Valieva competes

February 15, 2022
Sports NewsFigure Skating
Olympics: Kamila Valieva competes

The GIST: As expected, Kamila Valieva — the 15-year-old ROC figure skater embroiled in a doping scandal — finished first in the women’s singles short program this morning and qualified for Thursday’s free skate. Also as expected, the most important news is coming off the ice.

Valieva’s response: While we’ve covered how various sporting institutions have responded to this deeply troubling situation, there’s been little focus on Valieva’s own response. “It’s as if I don’t have any emotions left,” she said. “I am happy but at the same time I am emotionally tired.” As if she wasn’t already under enough pressure.

  • Meanwhile, Valieva’s lawyers are claiming the failed doping test is a result of contamination from her grandfather’s medication. Very “my dog ate my homework” vibes.

Zooming out: 2018 medalist and current coach for American Mariah Bell, Adam Rippon summed it up well on Twitter, writing, “You can be heartbroken for this 15-year-old girl and at the same time be heartbroken that every other skater in this event will have to compete knowing that the competition is not clean.”

  • As for other takes, many are drawing comparisons to American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was barred from competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics after testing positive for cannabis. Double standard much?

What’s next: The women’s singles final is set for Thursday at 5 a.m. ET, but this story won’t end there. Canceling a medal ceremony can’t hide the lasting impact this scandal will have on the (already damaged) integrity of the Games.