Kamila Valieva: Russian figure skater qualifies for free skate at Winter Olympics - despite failed drugs test

February 15, 2022

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has qualified for the women's free skating event on Thursday - after she was cleared to compete despite revelations the 15-year-old failed a drugs test.

Valieva was awarded 82.16 by the judges during a preliminary round, giving her a huge lead and putting her in the best position for a gold medal - for now.

The performance was not her strongest and she appeared to be distraught when it ended.

The top 25 skaters in today's preliminary round qualify for the free skating event which will conclude on Thursday.

Valieva was cleared to compete on Monday despite failing a test for a banned substance - a decision that was contested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but overruled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A sample from the 15-year-old was taken on Christmas Day - and on 8 February, it returned positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication.

An investigation led by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is under way, which will determine whether Valieva can receive the gold she won in the team event more than a week ago - and any further awards she picks up.

The World Anti-Doping Agency will be able to appeal any decision made.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already decided there will be no medal or flower ceremony if she finishes in the top three of the final competition of the singles event "in the interest of fairness".

Once the doping case has been concluded, the awards will be presented retrospectively.

Valieva blamed the positive drugs test on contamination with her grandfather's medicine.

"Her argument was this contamination happened with a product her grandfather was taking," the IOC's Denis Oswald told reporters.

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