Valieva Gamely Presses on Amid Olympic Doping Controversy

By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports activities Author

BEIJING (AP) — The 15-year-old determine skating star on the heart of Russia’s newest doping scandal, now stretching towards its second week and a few type of decision, appears to be the one individual on the earth and not using a phrase to say about it.

As a substitute, Kamila Valieva continues to gamely apply on the Beijing Olympics amid a sea of media and digital camera crews because the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport decides whether or not she is even allowed to compete this week. An expedited listening to was scheduled for Sunday evening, with a ruling anticipated someday Monday.

Valieva has but to overlook a scheduled apply since a drug take a look at taken in December was flagged final Monday for traces of a banned coronary heart treatment. That was the identical day the reigning European champion helped the Russian skaters win workforce gold with a dynamic free skate by which she grew to become the primary lady to land a quad in Olympic competitors.

It hasn’t all the time been straightforward to plug alongside because the world implodes round her, although. On a number of events, the stress appeared to have gotten to Valieva, together with a second throughout Saturday’s apply session when she fell throughout a triple axel and finally skated to the boards and tearfully hugged her embattled coach, Eteri Tutberidze.

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“She’s a powerful woman,” supplied Russian ice dancer Victoria Sinitsina, who alongside together with her accomplice, Nikita Katsalapov, have tried to offer Valieva some much-needed assist as three males in a Beijing resort resolve the destiny of her Olympic goals.

“I advised her to settle down,” Sinitsina stated, “even when it is a onerous scenario proper now.”

A technique or one other, Valieva will know quickly whether or not she can be allowed to compete within the girls’s brief program on Tuesday. A call by CAS is predicted roughly 24 hours earlier than the overwhelming favourite to win the gold medal is due on the ice at Capital Indoor Stadium.

“Victoria had a couple of minutes to share some phrases together with her, and Kamila is a powerful woman so she goes to be high-quality,” Katsalapov stated. “(Victoria) requested her to, like, settle down just a bit bit, even when it is a onerous scenario round her.”

Valieva has but to talk to the media because the information convention following the Russians’ workforce gold, when the seemingly unbeatable star regarded each bit the precocious teenager. In between questions, she was snapping photographs and texting with buddies on her pink-cased cellphone, whereas squeezing tightly the plush Bing Dwen Dwen mascot given to every of the medalists.

Her pleasure was unmistakable: “All of us did such a superb job,” she gushed. “I’m very pleased with my workforce.”

Now, all of their gold medals hold within the steadiness, unlikely to be determined till lengthy after the Olympics have ended.

The closed-loop system of the Olympic bubble, put in place to attenuate the unfold of COVID-19, has had the unintended consequence of giving Valieva some peace away from the rink. There are not any folks staking out the Olympic Village, making an attempt to get even the shortest sound chunk, offering her a little bit of sanctuary from the nonstop information cycle.

Most critics taking to social media have largely supported Valieva, too, leveling their ire as an alternative at Russian coaches and directors chargeable for her well-being. That features Tutberidze, who additionally coaches teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, and who has earned a status for utilizing up and discarding her younger athletes.

“Let’s be variety to the 15-year-old who produced a optimistic drug take a look at as a result of she lives in an institutionalized system the place she was almost definitely guided and trusted the adults round her,” tweeted Mirai Nagasu, a member of the U.S. determine skating workforce 4 years in the past on the Pyeongchang Video games.

Ashley Wagner, one other American determine skater who competed on the 2014 Sochi Video games, was appalled that Russia is on the heart of one other doping scandal, but appears to repeatedly get a cross from the Worldwide Olympic Committee.

Wagner additionally took goal at a skating tradition that always champions youngsters with little regard for his or her long-term well being.

“Sure, a 15-year-old might be mature, and have a life that’s already stuffed with unbelievable experiences, however nonetheless, she is a child,” Wagner stated. “She’s not the primary child put on this place and she or he gained’t be the final until we begin taking this severely.”

On the heart of the firestorm is Valieva, a excessive schooler with fuzzy pink skate guards and a beloved Pomeranian pet again residence. She did an ideal run-through of her record-setting brief program throughout Sunday’s apply. Then, whereas dozens of cameras clicked for photos, she reached down and touched the ice earlier than strolling off.

The wait is on to see whether or not Valieva can be allowed again on.

“It’s all the time unhealthy when one thing like that occurs, so we’re very sorry for any athlete,” Russian ice dancer Gleb Smolkin stated. “I feel like everybody else, we’re simply ready for the outcomes of this story. We want Kamila all the most effective. She’s an amazing athlete, she’s an amazing skater. She has a shiny future.”

Related Press author Sally Ho contributed to this report.

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