Kamila Valieva stumbled and fell her way through a nervy performance to end her controversial Olympics while Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal Thursday in the women’s free skate.
Valieva’s mistake-filled skate left her in fourth place, without a medal and in a fit of inconsolable tears. The 15-year-old was heavily favored to win the gold but is headed home with nothing from the women’s program and still faces investigation for a positive drug test.
In the end, her Russian Olympic Committee teammate Shcherbakova won the gold in stunning fashion, but she too appeared devastated when the final scores came in.
The Beijing Games were supposed to be Valieva’s coronation as the sport’s next superstar. But after the revelation of her failed drug test in December due to the banned heart medication trimetazidine, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision earlier this week to allow her to compete, the competition has been overshadowed by Valieva’s participation.
If Valieva had won a medal, there would not have been a ceremony due to the ongoing investigation, and the figure skating community was outraged she was allowed to compete.
Winter Olympics 2022: Kamila Valieva finishes off podium, Canada beats USA in women’s hockey and more from Beijing
How did we get here? Russia figure skater Kamila Valieva finishes off the podium
16mESPN and ABC staff
No one seemed happy with the result Thursday.
Alexandra Trusova, also representing the ROC, won the silver medal after a performance with five successfully completed quad jumps. But a sobbing Trusova said she didn’t want to participate in the medal ceremony.
Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto won the bronze medal.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication at the Russian championships in December, but the result was not revealed until last week, shortly after she helped to win a team gold medal that is now also in doubt.
Valieva was cleared to compete in the free skate when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that she had protected status as a minor and would suffer “irreparable harm” if she was not allowed to perform. The court did not rule on the full scope of the case, leaving that to anti-doping investigators.
“Do I feel sorry for her? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t say so,” Sakamoto said after her short program. “Of course, there were moments where I thought: ‘What’s going to happen? What’s happening?'”
Valieva has claimed the trimetazidine entered her system by accident. But the World Anti-Doping Agency filed a brief stating that two other substances she acknowledged taking, L-carnitine and Hypoxen — though both legal — undercut the argument that a banned substance could have been ingested in error.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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