Russian Olympic chief rejects Valieva decision

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) issued a strong message as figure skater Kamila Valieva goes for gold

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov has said the organization “categorically disagrees” with the decision to recognize figure skater Kamila Valieva’s results in Beijing as only provisional.

Valieva is in the middle of an investigation after returning a positive doping sample from December, which was only reported after she had helped the ROC to gold in the team event in Beijing.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already postponed the medal ceremony for the team event and will not hold one for the women’s individual event, should Valieva win a medal after she was cleared to compete by a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Wednesday that any results involving the 15-year-old star in Beijing would carry an “asterisk” until her case has been resolved.

ROC president Pozdnyakov issued a strong response to that statement on Thursday.   

“We categorically disagree with this,” said Podznyakov in a message shared on the official ROC Telegram account. 

“Regarding the result of the team tournament, the Russian Olympic Committee has already sent a letter to the ISU [International Skating Union], in which it stated in detail the position that the results of the team tournament are not subject to revision under any circumstances, regardless of the outcome of the disciplinary investigation against the athlete.

“The anti-doping rules are worded in such a way that a review of results in a team event would only take place if the alleged anti-doping violation had been committed during the Olympic Games. We will defend this position consistently in any possible proceedings, including in the CAS, if required.”

Pozdnyakov commented on Valieva’s case. © Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Elsewhere, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin confirmed that a letter had been sent to the IOC to request that the medal ceremonies be held in Beijing.

“The ROC has already sent a corresponding request to the IOC so that the awards ceremony can be held, because this applies not only to Russian athletes, but also to other countries that participated in the competition and are among the winners in the singles skating,” Matytsin told Russian television.   

“We hope that the opinion of the ROC will be taken into account. As no guilt has been established and the details of the case are not established, it is necessary to allow the ceremony to be held.”

It was reported on Thursday that IOC president Thomas Bach offered Olympic torches to US skaters who won silver in the team event, supposedly as a gift while they await a decision on the status of the competition.

Valieva returned a positive test for the banned heart medicine trimetazidine in a sample taken on December 25. Her result took more than six weeks to be reported after being analyzed at a WADA-accredited laboratory in Sweden.

Russian officials and the skater’s team have maintained her innocence, reportedly suggesting that the result may have been caused by contamination from medicine her grandfather was taking.

They have also noted that Valieva returned repeated negative tests before and after the positive sample, including at the Beijing Olympics, as well as expressing concern over the timing of the positive test being announced.

Gold medal favorite Valieva will compete in the ladies’ free program in the Chinese capital on Thursday, and leads the competition after the short skate routines.   

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