Figure Skater Kamila Valieva Banned For Four Years Over Doping Scandal

Teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was banned from the sport for four years over a positive doping test taken just before the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Monday. The ban backdates to before the most recent Winter Games in Beijing, stripping Russia of its figure skating team gold and potentially paving the way for the U.S. team to finally be awarded first place two years after the controversy first surfaced.

The suspension is dated from Dec. 25, 2021, meaning Valieva, now age 17, will next be eligible for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy. Reports from the New York Times and Washington Post suggest that with Russia’s team medal now stripped, the U.S. is poised to be awarded the gold, with Japan jumping to silver, and Canada taking bronze.

“Their moment is approaching,” U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement to the Times. “And when it arrives, it will serve as a testament to the justice and recognition they truly deserve.”

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart celebrated the decision but also criticized the way the situation was handled. “It’s the right outcome, just two years too late,” he told the Post. “Now ISU [International Skating Union] must immediately act to finally award and recognize the true winners of the competition.”

Valieva was controversially allowed to continue competing in the Women’s Singles category, despite the positive doping test being revealed during the middle of the games just days prior. “Seeing her on the Olympic ice right now with everything we discovered over the last week, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Tara Lipinski said in 2022 during NBC’s broadcast of her performance. “And again I don’t think it should be happening.”

Valieva, who was 15 at the time, would break down in tears during her performance, stumbling throughout her routine, and failing to medal after coming into the event as the favorite to win it all.


Valieva’s allowed performance sparked controversy from around the sports world, with Runner Sha’carri Richardson, who was dropped from the U.S. Olympics team over a positive marijuana test, calling out the double standard. “Can we get a solid answer on the difference [between] her situation and mine?” Richardson said on Twitter, now known as X. “My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a Black young lady.”

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