Russian President Vladimir Putin defended figure skating star Kamila Valiyev, who tested positive in doping in December. She is convinced that the banned substances could not help her with her excellent performances.
Newly 16-year-old Valijevová did not lose a single competition in her premier senior season before the Olympic Games and exceeded historical highs. She was a clear favorite for Olympic gold, but after a team competition in Beijing, it turned out that she had a positive test for banned trimetazidine in December. Despite this, she could conditionally compete in the individual competition, but the difficult situation persisted, she ruined her free ride and finished fourth.
She doesn’t even have a medal from the team competition yet, because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) postponed the ceremony until her case was resolved, which could take months. Yet today, President Putin praised her performance. “With her work, she has moved her sport to the level of a certain art form. Such perfection cannot be achieved dishonestly with the help of banned substances. We know very well that these substances are not needed in figure skating,” Putin said at a ceremony where he met with successful Olympians and Paralympians. .
After the Olympics, Valiyev no longer competed on the international stage because, like other Russian athletes, she was excluded from all international competitions under the ISU banner. The International Skating Union has punished Russia and its allies Belarus over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. On Monday, the ISU also took away the organization of the November Grand Prix in figure skating. Sanctions for both countries apply until further notice.