Russian Skater Faces Backlash After Being Cleared to Compete Following Positive Drug Test

15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has recently received a positive drug test. The test revealed a banned heart medication. However, she has been cleared to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, and is now facing backlash from many.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of Valieva, deemed “Miss Perfect” for her flawless skating skills, dismissing the provisional suspension that she would have otherwise faced, and that many people think she should face.

The time between collecting Valieva’s sample and getting the positive result spanned over six weeks thanks to COVID delays. RUSADA immediately suspended Valieva after receiving the positive result, however, Valieva appealed, causing the suspension to be lifted. Valieva claimed the result was “not her fault,” nothing she had special status as a “protected person” under world anti-doping rules since she is under the age of 16.

“In particular, the Panel considered that preventing the Athlete from competing at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in these circumstances,” CAS wrote in its ruling.

The decision to have her be cleared meant that Valieva would be able to compete in the women’s individual competition. Since she is estimated to win gold in the event, she is facing quite a bit of backlash. Even the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Sarah Hirshland, said they were “disappointed by the message this decision sends.”

“It is the collective responsibility of the entire Olympic community to protect the integrity of sport and to hold our athletes, coaches and all involved to the highest of standards,” Hirshland said. “Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that right is being denied. This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.”

While Valieva hasn’t made any public statements, her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, came to her defense. “I want to say that we are absolutely sure that Kamila is innocent and pure,” Tutberidze told Channel One Russia. “And for us this is not a theorem, but an axiom. It does not need to be proven.”

Alexander Gorshkov, the president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, also showed support for Valieva, stating, “The only thing that can be said here is that common sense and justice have triumphed.”

To hear more on this controversial case, check out the video below.

Do you agree with the ruling or do you think it should’ve been different?