Russian Olympic figure skater gets 4-year ban for doping

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Kamila Valieva was touted as the teen queen at the 2022 Winter Olympics, but her journey ended in tears and a four-year ban from competition. 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down the punishment on Monday, about two years after Valieva tested positive for banned heart medicine. 

The ban is retroactive, meaning Valieva will have to forfeit all of her results dating back to Dec. 25, 2021. That includes an Olympic gold she helped Russia win in the team event. The U.S. will now be elevated to gold unless Valieva is successful upon appeal, although it’s unclear whether she will even see that process through. 

SEE MORE: Ukrainian athletes want Russians excluded from 2024 Olympics

Members of the U.S. team have been critical of how Valieva’s ordeal was handled, saying that their Olympic experience was tainted.

U.S. figure skater Vincent Zhou spoke openly about the process, saying he felt forgotten, noting that the wait cost the other athletes. 

“There are significant economic costs associated with not receiving an Olympic medal (sponsors love medals),”  Zhou said in a statement.

Despite the positive test result, Valieva was allowed to compete in the singles competition because of the appeal process. However, the apparent fallout from the doping controversy appeared to get to her. The teenager, who was touted as one of the best ever to lace up skates, fell several times in her free skate. She was seen crying uncontrollably as she dropped to fourth place. 

Valieva could redeem herself in 2026. Her ban from international competition ends less than two months before the Winter Olympics in Milan.


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