Doping accusation against Valiyeva: Putin complains when honoring his Olympic heroes

Doping allegations against Valiyeva
Putin scolds when honoring his Olympic heroes

As a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian athletes are barred from much of international sport. President Putin does not spare criticism when honoring the Olympic medal winners.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended figure skater Kamila Valiyeva, who is suspected of doping, against allegations of manipulation. “Through her hard work, she elevated sport to an art form,” Putin said at a televised tribute to Russia’s 2022 Winter Olympics medalists. “Such perfection cannot be achieved dishonestly, even with substances and manipulations.” Instead, it is “very well known” that doping in figure skating does not bring any advantages.

Valiyeva, who turned 16 today, tested positive for a banned substance at the Russian championships in December. However, this result only became public on February 8, after the start of the figure skating decisions in China. The day before the positive doping test was announced, the then 15-year-old had won the gold medal in the team competition together with the Russian team.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then canceled the award ceremony until further notice, as long as the doping process has not been completed. More than two months after the end of the games, this is still a long time coming – especially to the annoyance of the teams from the USA and Japan, who are currently ranked silver and bronze respectively, but would move up if Russia were disqualified. The Court of Arbitration for Sport had also allowed Valiewa to start in the singles, where the child prodigy missed the podium by one place after numerous mistakes and tears in fourth place.

Allegations against international sport

The case of Valiyeva was one of the big issues at the Winter Games, where Russian athletes had to compete without a national flag and national anthem as a result of the doping scandal. Officially, they started as the “Russian Olympic Committee” because the IOC had decided against a complete exclusion. It is currently completely unclear when the doping allegations against the teenager and her environment around the highly controversial trainer Eteri Tutberidze can be clarified. Officially, the Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA has until August to complete the investigation.

As a result of the war of aggression ordered by Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, numerous international sports federations have suspended Russian athletes from their competitions and championships, including figure skating, until further notice. Valiewa had therefore contested her first competition since the Olympics recently in a kind of “counter-World Cup” in Russia, after participation in the official World Cup in Montpellier, France, had ended due to the sanctions.

As the Reuters news agency also reports, at the ceremony honoring the medalists, Putin also criticized the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Paralympics in March this year. The International Paralympic Committee had drawn this conclusion at short notice as a result of the invasion ordered by Putin. He described this step as a “violation of the fundamental principles of sport” and “fundamental human rights” – in view of the numerous documented indications of war crimes by Russian troops in Ukraine, a notable accusation in a negative sense.

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