Russian figure skater Kamila Valiyeva faces a four-year ban, the Associated Press reports, citing the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If this decision is made, the athlete will not be able to compete at the 2026 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
CAS has filed an appeal with the World Anti-Doping Agency, which last week said it was taking the case to a Swiss tribunal. According to WADA, a year after Valiyeva was convicted of using a banned drug, Russian officials have not given an explanation for what happened. Therefore, according to the CAS statement, WADA is seeking “sanction against the athlete with a four-year period of Ineligibility commencing on the effective date of the CAS decision.”
WADA also wants Valiyeva to be retroactively stripped of all awards she has received since December 2021, when she tested positive. This means that the figure skater can take away the gold medal she won in the team event at the Olympic Games in Beijing in February. Pandemic-related delays at the Swedish lab processing Valiyeva's sample meant that the result was only made public after she won the team gold. At the previous collegium, CAS members allowed Valiyeva to compete in the individual competition, where she took fourth place, taking into account her age - 15 years.
After the scandal in Valiyeva, it was decided to allow athletes from the age of 17 to the Olympic Games. According to the ISU, the new rule was introduced "for the sake of protecting the physical and mental health, as well as the emotional well-being of skaters." "Burnout, disordered eating and the long-term effects of injury" pose a risk to teenage skaters who are forced to do more quads", - the ISU also said in a statement.
In Russia, where skaters are now suspended by the ISU from participating in international competitions, the innovations were perceived negatively. “I think this was done in order to more or less equalize the competition, so that our Russian skaters would not have the opportunity to win medals at the World Championships, Europe, the Olympic Games”, - said Dmitry Solovyov, gold medalist of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi in team standings, in an interview with Match TV. The skater also expressed confidence that coach Eteri Tutberidze will find a way to bring athletes to their best form at the age of 17-18, “so that they can show their best results in international competitions at this particular age”.