Russian figure-skater Kamila Valieva has suggested her failed drugs test was a result of contamination with her grandad’s medicine, according to an Olympic official.
The 15-year-old tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine in December, which is classed by WADA as a cardiac metabolic modular and has been shown to improve physical efficiency.
Valieva was provisionally suspended last week, but the Russian Anti-Doping Agency lifted the ban the following day.
The International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency subsequently launched an appeal, challenging RUSADA’s decision to lift the suspension.
Yet, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the Russian’s “exceptional circumstances” meant she should not be provisionally banned.
Reaction to this decision has been mixed, with many arguing that CAS’ decision marks a backwards step in the battle to prevent doping offences.
USA Today columnist Christine Brennan wrote: “CAS decision: Kamila Valieva is allowed to compete. What a dark day this is for the fight against doping in sports.”
CAS decision: Kamila Valieva is allowed to compete. What a dark day this is for the fight against doping in sports.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 14, 2022
However, the teenager has stressed that the positive test was not her fault and was in fact due to coming into contact with her grandad’s medicine.
The IOC’s Denis Oswald told reporters: “Her argument was this contamination happened with a product her grandfather was taking.”
Valieva, who was the pre-Games favourite, had been spotted continuing to train amid the ongoing investigation and has now broken her silence.
The European figure-skating champion told Russia’s Channel One television: “These [past] days have been very difficult for me.
“It’s as if I don’t have any emotions left. I am happy but at the same time, I am emotionally tired.”
Russian athletes have a history of doping and are banned from competing at the Olympics under their own country’s flag because of violations at the 2014 Sochi Games.
This case has once again raised the question of whether Russia is guilty of institutionalised doping, though Oswald stated Valieva’s case has no connection with previous violations.
The IOC has announced that if Valieva wins a medal in the women’s event, which starts today, there will not be a ceremony.
Meanwhile, WADA is investigating Valieva’s entourage, including coaches, doctors and other adults around her.
Oswald has stressed that a “15-year-old would not do something wrong alone.”