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Kamila Valieva Receives 4-Year Ban After Olympic Doping Scandal

Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nearly two years after the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics doping scandal that shook the women’s figure-skating competition, the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down a punishment Monday, according to the New York Times. Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva — the then 15-year-old at the center of the doping allegations — has received a four-year ban from competition from the Swiss-based Court.

As you might recall, the teenage Valieva was a gold-medal favorite heading into the 2022 Olympics and had become the first woman skater to complete a successful quad salchow during the Games. But Russia’s quest for gold medals across the board quickly derailed as reports surfaced that Valieva had failed her doping test just weeks before the Games began. The skater’s positive sample reportedly contained traces of a heart medication called trimetazidine, though at the time, she claimed the medication was prescribed to her grandfather and that she had taken it accidentally. Trimetazidine has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2014, according to CNN. But Valieva was allowed to continue competing while the matter was discussed behind closed doors.

As announced by a three-member arbitration panel on Monday, the ban will be instated as of December 2021, the date Valieva first gave the positive sample. The now 17-year-old will have to return “any titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes, and appearance money” earned since the initial collection, the Times reports. She will, however, be eligible to compete at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

Because of Valieva’s disqualification, the United States is now set to take home a retroactive gold medal in the team competition of the 2022 Games. But the sting of a system that extends selective sympathy to its athletes still remains. While enacted by different governing bodies, track-and-field athlete Sha’Carri Richardson was blocked from competing in the 2021 Tokyo Games after using marijuana to cope with the death of her mother. Across sports and categories, Black women have been discouraged or banned from competition over everything from swim caps designed for Black hair to naturally occurring testosterone levels.

“Clean athletes could’ve had their moment,” Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, told the Times Monday. “But Russia failed to follow the rules, and they were allowed to get away with it.”

Kamila Valieva Receives 4-Year Ban After Doping Scandal