Russia clear Kamila Valieva over figure skating drugs scandal which rocked the Winter Olympics


Teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva cleared by Russia over drugs scandal which rocked the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, as US anti-doping chief hits out at the ‘self-serving decision’ and demands WADA launch an appeal

  • The RUSADA has ruled Kamila Valieva was not at fault for her positive drug test
  • Valieva’s positive test emerged after the figure skater won team gold in Beijing
  • The teenager’s legal team claimed she accidentally ingested heart medication
  • US anti-doping chiefs have called for the WADA to appeal RUSADA’s verdict

Russian anti-doping authorities have ruled Kamila Valieva, the teenager skater at the centre of the drugs scandal that rocked last year’s Winter Olympics, was not at fault for her positive test.

In a controversial ruling that will be appealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency and has raised eyebrows further afield, a Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) tribunal found Valieva ‘bore no fault or negligence’.

Valieva faced being stripped of the Olympic skating team gold she won for Russia as a 15-year-old in Beijing – a victory that was quickly followed by the revelation she had tested positive in December 2021 for the banned substance trimetazidine. 

Russian anti-doping authorities ruled Kamila Valieva was not at fault for her positive drug test

Valieva (far left) won team figure skating gold the day before her positive test was revealed

Valieva (far left) won team figure skating gold the day before her positive test was revealed

In a surreal turn, Valieva’s legal team went on to claim in the subsequent storm that she may have accidentally ingested heart medication belonging to her grandfather by sharing a glass of water.

RUSADA insisted throughout the saga that they will conduct their investigation in private as the skater was a minor at the time of the positive. 

However, WADA, who will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, disclosed the upshot of that 10-month RUSADA process in a statement: ‘The tribunal found that although the athlete had committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation, she bore “no fault or negligence” for it. As such, the tribunal imposed no sanction except for the disqualification of her results on the date of the sample collection.

Valieva failed to win a medal in the individual event amid the controversy at the Games

Valieva failed to win a medal in the individual event amid the controversy at the Games 

USADA chief Travis Tygart has accused RUSADA of a 'self-serving' decision in the Valieva case

USADA chief Travis Tygart has accused RUSADA of a ‘self-serving’ decision in the Valieva case

‘As such, the tribunal imposed no sanction except for the disqualification of her results on the date of the sample collection.

‘Based on the elements of the case with which WADA is already familiar, the Agency is concerned by the finding of “no fault or negligence” and will not hesitate to exercise its right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as appropriate.’

US Anti-Doping chief Travis Tygart was scathing of the RUSADA verdict. He said: ‘WADA and the ISU (International Skating Union) have to appeal this decision, for the sake of the credibility of the anti-doping system and the rights of all athletes. 

‘The world can’t possibly accept this self-serving decision by RUSADA, which in the recent past has been a key instrument of Russia’s state sponsored doping fraud and is non-compliant. Justice demands a full, fair, public hearing outside of Russia.’

In the midst of the mass of attention caused by Valieva’s positive, she was cleared by the International Olympic Committee to compete in the individual competition, for which she was the huge favourite for gold. She ultimately failed to win a medal after multiple falls. 



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