The court of arbitration for sport has banned Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva for four years. At the 2022 Winter Olympics, her positive doping test at the age of fifteen made headlines.
As a result of the order, all of Valieva’s findings from her failed test on December 25, 2021, have also been removed from the public record.
Cas hasn’t, however, immediately taken away Valieva’s and the Russian team’s gold medal in the team competition. Cas stated that power was “not within the scope of this arbitration procedure and will have to be examined by the sports organisations concerned” in a statement outlining its decision.
However, it appears unlikely that the Russian team would now lose their medal and the American team will go to the gold level by the International Skating Union.
As the Russian Olympic Committee won gold, Valieva became the first female athlete to successfully perform a quadruple leap in an Olympic team competition. One day later, however, it was revealed that she had tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ), a medication intended to prevent angina, during the December 2021 Russian national championships, a few weeks prior to the Games.
The reason for the postponement of the sample testing on Christmas Day was a Covid epidemic among employees of a Swedish doping laboratory. However, the announcement of the news sparked a media frenzy that took centre stage during the Winter Olympics.
Valieva’s legal team contended that she may have taken a contaminated glass of water in Beijing that included traces of her grandfather’s heart medication, which could have caused her to test positive for drugs. Following several days of intense legal disputes, Cas finally gave her permission to resume competing; nonetheless, she performed poorly in the individual figure skating competition, falling twice and placing fourth.
After upon, there were over two years of court proceedings until Cas’s ruling on Monday.
In a statement, Cas stated: “Ms. Valieva did not contest liability, acknowledging that the presence of a TMZ in her sample constituted an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV). Consequently, it fell upon the Cas panel to determine what sanctions, if any, should be imposed on Ms. Valieva.
“After thorough examination of all evidence presented, the Cas panel concluded that Ms. Valieva could not prove, based on the evidence before the panel, that she had not intentionally committed the ADRV.
“As a result, given the absence of discretion to reduce the period of ineligibility, the panel imposed a four-year period of ineligibility.
“The Cas panel also ruled for the disqualification of all competitive results achieved by Ms. Valieva from 25 December 2021, with the associated consequences including forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes, and appearance money.”
“The implications associated with retroactively disqualifying Ms. Valieva from previous events, including the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, were not addressed in this arbitration process and will need to be assessed by the relevant sports organizations.”
The decision was praised by Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, who stated: “Today’s ruling in the Valieva case is a significant step forward. It’s crucial that the ISU promptly manages the necessary technical procedures to redistribute the medals accordingly.
“Since 2014, Russia has tainted the Games by orchestrating a state-sponsored doping program that unfairly disadvantaged clean athletes worldwide. Once again, those responsible for safeguarding the Games and athletes have allowed Russia to compromise its own athletes’ well-being while depriving clean athletes and fans of a genuine, fair, and transparent Olympic competition.
“We now must insist on a thorough review of the handling of this entire ordeal to ensure that any required reforms are implemented to prevent such injustices from occurring again.