After a whirlwind week of controversy surrounding Russia’s Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old finished fourth in the figure skating competition that some say she should have never competed in.
Former figure skaters and others shared on social media they believe Valieva was forced into a bad position by competing after testing positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication that can improve endurance and blood flow.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport allowed her to skate anyway after an appeal.
She was favored to win the gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but didn’t medal after her performance on Thursday. Her teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova placed first and second. Kaori Sakamoto of Japan won bronze.
“This is a moment where you genuinely have to say- that poor kid,” Ashley Wagner, a former Olympic figure skater, tweeted. “She should not have ever been put in this position. She shouldn’t have been out on that ice, she shouldn’t have been put in a position where she became the face of a problem bigger than her.”
Polina Edmunds, a U.S. figure skater who competed in the 2014 Olympics, shared the same thoughts that the teen shouldn’t have been allowed to compete.
“Very traumatizing Olympic experience for Kamila Valieva. She should not have been allowed to compete, it’s devastating that she was put in this situation, on all levels,” she tweeted.
Charlotte Clymer, a veteran and activist, tweeted her heart broke for the young skater.
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Chasing Gold🥇: Cleared to skate, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva in first after short program
“She’s 15. She has not been treated right by the adults in her life. For whatever you might think of Kamila Valieva being permitted to compete (she definitely should not have been permitted), remember that she’s 15. She’s a child,” Clymer wrote.
Josh Jordan tweeted his sentiments on letting her compete despite testing positive for a banned substance.
“Kamila Valieva ends up not even getting a medal in the women’s figure skating which is probably a relief to the IOC that they don’t have to delay the medal ceremony, but also highlights their cowardice in letting someone with a positive substance test compete in the first place,” he said.
Andi Zeisler tweeted there are three things everyone can take from her performance:
“That Kamila Valieva is a spectacular skater, that she should not be taking the blame for doping, and that she should also absolutely not be competing.”
Contributing: Tom Schad
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: email@example.com.