Russia’s Star Skater Suspected of Doping

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At just 15, Russian figure skating star Kamila Valieva failed a drug test, recalling Russia’s long history of doping in international sport.

  • Last week, 15-year-old figure-skating phenomenon Kamila Valieva propelled Russia to win the team skating competition, hitting two quadruple jumps—the first woman to do so at the Olympics.
  • Valieva is considered a rare talent of extraordinary elegance and athleticism, and was favored to also win gold in the Olympic women’s singles event on Tuesday.
  • But that was all before it was revealed shortly after the team competition that Valieva had tested positive for a banned substance trimetazidine, a heart medication thought to improve stamina.
  • A three-judge panel is set to decide on Tuesday whether Valieva will be allowed to compete in the singles competition on Tuesday. Olympic medals for team figure skating are also in limbo.
  • This is far from the first time Russian athletes have been implicated in alleged doping during international competition.
  • In fact, Russia is technically banned from international competition due to a massive state-sponsored doping operation that came to light following the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • It’s the reason now that Russian athletes are competing in the Winter Olympics without their national anthem and flag—competing under the banner ROC, or Russian Olympic Committee.
  • Russia’s leaders claim this punishment is due to anti-Russian hysteria, and defend Valieva. It remains to be seen whether Valieva’s test results will reveal a wider conspiracy this time around.
  • But no matter what happens, the Kremlin is certain to depict doping allegations as just another facet of what it says is the West’s relentless campaign to undermine Russia.
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