Kamila Valieva, Russian Figure Skater, Tested Positive for Banned Drug

Sadye Matula

BEIJING — The 15-yr-outdated star of Russia’s figure skating workforce who driven it to a gain in the staff determine skating opposition tested constructive for a banned substance weeks right before the Beijing Olympics, throwing into problem her team’s gold medal and her continued participation in the Games. The skater, […]

BEIJING — The 15-yr-outdated star of Russia’s figure skating workforce who driven it to a gain in the staff determine skating opposition tested constructive for a banned substance weeks right before the Beijing Olympics, throwing into problem her team’s gold medal and her continued participation in the Games.

The skater, Kamila Valieva, presently viewed as a single of the top rated athletes in the activity, was found to have trimetazidine, a banned heart treatment, in her process, in accordance to a assertion Friday from the Worldwide Testing Agency. The drug, which is not accredited for use in the United States, is thought to strengthen stamina by aiding the heart work far more proficiently. A number of major athletes, together with the Chinese swimmer Sunshine Yang and the Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva, have served doping bans in latest decades following screening optimistic for the drug.

The revelation has upended the Olympic skating opposition and created a slew of thoughts, including whether Valieva, who was favored to acquire the personal celebration subsequent 7 days, will be permitted to compete and whether Russia will be awarded its crew gold medal. The United States, led by the men’s gold medalist Nathan Chen, concluded second in that occasion.

The information of the favourable check also highlighted the presence of Russian athletes at the Game titles even nevertheless their state is serving a multiyear ban from global sporting activities for a prior doping scandal. Russian athletes are permitted to take part in the Olympics and other international activities under special authorization, and only if their sports’ federations affirm they are totally free of banned substances. The requirement was put in position immediately after revelations that Russia done a state-orchestrated dishonest plan at the 2014 Sochi Winter season Olympics.

Russia gained the group function Monday behind a beautiful general performance by Valieva, who landed two quadruple jumps, becoming the first girl to do so in the Olympics.

Now, as the Intercontinental Olympic Committee and determine skating’s governing body, the Intercontinental Skating Union, get started a protracted assessment, it was not crystal clear what punishment Valieva or Russia may possibly acquire, if any.

Also uncertain is when the medals would at last hang about the necks of the winners.

The medals ceremony was hastily canceled on Tuesday. Just as the United States skaters organized to head to a plaza for the ceremony, dressed in their “Team U.S.A.” uniforms, they were being told — without having explanation — to convert again.

“I was definitely upset,” Karen Chen, 1 of the skaters, told reporters immediately after a exercise Friday. “It’s out of my regulate. I have confidence in that this selection would be designed quite by these in cost, and once again, I’m right here to concentrate on skating.”

Immediately after a number of days of confusion, the Worldwide Screening Agency, which oversees screening for the Online games, disclosed Valieva’s beneficial check on Friday.

Mark Adams, a spokesman for the I.O.C., reported at a news meeting on Friday in Beijing that he could not present a timeline for when the matter would be fixed.

“We have to wait for the course of action to run its system,” he explained. “We hope the whole concern can be expedited in the interest of each and every athlete.”

How Valieva was put on the checklist of Russian athletes cleared for the Game titles stays uncertain, and will be a vital part of the inquiry.

At the very least one particular of her drug-tests samples primary to the Game titles had nonetheless to be analyzed soon after she submitted it on Dec. 25, when she was competing in the Russian determine skating championship. A lab in Stockholm wherever the sample was despatched for testing did not report the constructive result till Tuesday, according to the testing company, location off chaos in the sport at its biggest party.

The Russian Olympic Committee issued a statement defending Valieva and her participation in the Game titles. The committee claimed that she had handed doping checks before and just after Dec. 25 and at the Game titles, and that the good check in question should not apply to her standing in Beijing.

“This was a entire catastrophic failure to athletes and community self esteem,” Travis T. Tygart, the chief govt of the United States Anti-Doping Company, stated Friday in a telephone interview. “It’s unacceptable that the technique failed athletes, such as the Russian athlete, this way.”

The Russian antidoping company briefly suspended Valieva, the Global Screening Agency stated, immediately after the lab in Stockholm reported the failed test on Tuesday, a person working day soon after the staff celebration, but speedily lifted that penalty. The Globe Anti-Doping Agency said Friday it was appealing that selection, and the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport is expected to expedite a hearing on the subject.

Tygart named it “total gross incompetence” that it took much more than a thirty day period for Valieva’s exam consequence to be claimed by the lab, and he stated that the Russian antidoping company and the Planet Anti-Doping Company, which operates the lab in Stockholm, ought to have expedited the end result with the Olympics approaching. It was in particular vital simply because Russian gals lately have been so dominant in determine skating, he claimed.

“It’s heartbreaking, mainly because this did not require to come about and shouldn’t have transpired,” Tygart explained.

If Valieva experienced been taking trimetazidine with a doctor’s suggestion, she would have experienced to file the paperwork for that prior to her drug tests and her eligibility could not be in contention suitable now, Tygart claimed. If she had been employing it for general performance-boosting uses — maybe for stamina or recovery — it could have potentially aided her land soar following jump in the bodily challenging and hugely difficult routines that she performs with ease.

In figure skating, elevated endurance would advantage athletes by building it a lot easier to complete various jumps, specifically in the 2nd 50 % of their routines. As many as three jumps performed in the next fifty percent are offered a 10 % bonus in skating’s scoring program.

Antidoping authorities are predicted to seem into how the drug acquired into Valieva’s program in the initially location, particularly for the reason that she is a slight. Coaches or some others in her entourage identified offering her a banned drug could facial area penalties below antidoping procedures, and beneath Russian regulation.

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, reported Russia’s governing administration had taken take note of the brewing skating disaster.

“We believe that there was some kind of misunderstanding,” Peskov instructed reporters during a frequent briefing on Friday. “Our sports activities officials have issues about the timeline of Valieva’s tests.”

A disqualification for Valieva, or Russia’s staff, could hand the team gold to the United States, which posted its best complete immediately after winning bronze in the party at the previous two Olympics. In that predicament, Japan’s workforce would go up to silver, and the Canadian workforce, which at first concluded fourth, would get the bronze.

The workforce party consists of performances by a country’s prime men’s and women’s singles skaters, a pairs staff and a set of ice dancers. Disqualification of any athlete from a medal-profitable team — a standard occurrence in other Olympic sporting activities — usually means the decline of that athlete’s points.

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