Russian teenager Kamila Valieva has been cleared to compete in women’s skating at the Winter Olympics even though she failed a drug test before the Games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) released its ruling less than 12 hours after the hastily arranged trial lasted until Monday morning. The ruling stated that Valieva, 15, the favorite to win the women’s singles gold medal, did not need to be suspended before a full investigation. The court ruled in favor of partly because he was a minor or a “protected person” and was subject to rules different from those for adult athletes.
“The panel considered that preventing athletes from competing in the Olympics would cause irreparable harm in this regard,” said CAS Director General Matthieu Reeb.
Now Valieva and her fellow Russian athletes can aim for the first championship podium for women’s figure skating in Olympic history. The match will start with the number short program Tuesday and ends Thursday with free skating.
Shortly after the verdict came out, Valieva appeared to be training at her scheduled time.
The CAS panel also cited fundamental issues of fairness in its ruling, namely the fact that he was cleared drug-free in Beijing and that there were “serious issues regarding untimely notification” of his positive test result.
Valieva tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine on December 25. But the results from the Swedish laboratory only came to light a week ago, after he was instrumental in winning the team gold medal for the Russian Olympic Committee team.
The 15-year-old, who became the first woman to perform a quadruple jump at the Olympics, previously won a gold medal with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team.
His fate at the Beijing Olympics and the gold medal the ROC team won have been questioned, amid global outrage over Moscow’s doping history. [vm/jm/rs/uh/ab]