Winter Olympics: Russian skater Kamila Valieva’s fate to be decided in urgent doping hearing

BEIJING — An emergency doping hearing will decide Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s fate at the Beijing Olympics after officials learned that the 15-year-old gold medal favorite tested positive for a banned substance in December, the International Testing Agency announced Friday.

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According to The Associated Press, the ITA confirmed reports that Valieva, who made history during the team competition Monday by becoming the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympics, tested positive for trimetazidine ahead of the Russian national championships late last year. A Swedish lab didn’t flag the positive test until Tuesday, the day after Russia’s skaters won the team event with 74 points, beating second-place U.S. and third-place Japan, the AP reported. The medal ceremony has been postponed.

Trimetazidine, typically used to treat angina and vertigo, is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency because the metabolic agent can improve blood flow and endurance, the AP previously reported.

Although Russia’s anti-doping agency, RUSADA, immediately issued a provisional suspension to prevent Valieva from competing in the Olympics, a RUSADA disciplinary panel overturned her ban Wednesday, according to the AP.

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In a statement Friday, the ITA said the International Olympic Committee is appealing RUSADA’s move to lift the suspension in an urgent hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport “because a decision is needed before the next competition the athlete is due to take part in” – the women’s single skate on Tuesday.

A decision on whether the Russian team – which is competing as the Russian Olympic Committee without its anthem or flag due to previous doping scandals involving the country’s athletes – will be awarded the gold medal it won earlier this week “likely will take much longer,” according to the AP.

“The decision on the results of the ROC team in the Team Figure Skating event can be taken by the ISU only after a final decision on the full merits of the case has been taken,” the ITA said. “The procedure, which is initiated currently, can only address the provisional suspension.”

The ROC said in a statement that it “will take comprehensive measures to defend the rights and interests of the ROC team and to keep the honestly won Olympic gold medal,” the AP reported. Valieva also took a drug test while at the Olympics, which was clean, the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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