Russia refuses to give back medal after 15-year-old figure skater tests positive for banned substance

Harry Wilmerding, DCNF

A 15-year-old figure skater tested positive for a banned substance before her gold-medal-winning performance, and she later refused to give her back her medal, multiple sources reported.

Kamila Valieva, a figure skating superstar of the Russian Olympic Committee, tested positive for a banned substance in December 2021, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The ITA said Valieva tested positive for the banned heart drug Trimetazidine at the Russian National Championship in St. Petersburg in December, the WSJ reported. The positive test was reported on Feb. 8 by a Swedish laboratory, the day after Valieva skated in her event.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) suspended Valieva from competing in the remainder of the Beijing Olympics, but Valieva won an appeal of her suspension on Feb. 9, the WSJ reported.

“It is a very active case and we are waiting for it to be fully seen to the end,” ITA spokesman Mark Adams said, the WSJ reported. “We want to expedite it as quickly as possible…for all the athletes concerned.”

The Kremlin called Velieva’s situation a “misunderstanding,” Reuters reported.

“Hold your head up, you’re a Russian,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Valieva, Reuters reported. “Go proudly and beat everyone.”

Valieva became the first female skater to successfully land a quadruple jump at the Olympic Games, and she is also the youngest Olympian to test positive for Trimetazidine, Reuters reported.

“It is a shame, and the responsible adults should be banned from the sport forever!!!” German figure skating legend Katarina Witt said, according to Reuters. “What they knowingly did to her, if true, cannot be surpassed in inhumanity and makes my athlete’s heart cry infinitely.”

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