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Positive doping test in Russian figure skaters?

The Winter Olympics in Beijing are threatened with the first major doping case – and again the Russian team seems to be the center of attention. As reported by the media in Russia, 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valyeva is said to have tested positive for the stimulant trimetazidine before the games. On Monday she won gold with the team, but the medals were not awarded a day later – according to the IOC because of an “open legal issue”.

The industry portal insidethegames initially reported on the case, and the Russian newspapers “Kommersant” and “RBC” also named their own sources. According to RBC, Valyeva, who was also considered a favorite for the singles competition (as of Tuesday), was found to have had a “small amount” of the drug, which is prescribed to prevent angina.

At the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Russian bobsledder Nadesha Sergeyeva was discovered to have the same substance, which WADA says can increase endurance and blood flow. Chinese swim star Sun Yang was also caught using the drug in 2014 and banned for three months.

The favored Russian team had prevailed clearly ahead of the USA and Japan. In addition to Valyeva, Mark Kondratiuk (both singles), Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Gallyamov (pairs) as well as Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (ice dance) also contributed to the success. The German team ended up in ninth place.

The Russian team is participating in Beijing under the name of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), the flag and national anthem are banned, as was the case at the Tokyo 2021 Summer Games. However, Russian athletes are not generally banned. They may participate as “neutral athletes” under certain conditions. Russia was banned from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi because of the massive doping scandal.

President Vladimir Putin had again sharply criticized the sanctions before the start of the Winter Games and denied a state-supported doping program. “The practice of collective punishment for offenses committed by individuals is unacceptable,” Putin said. “Russia is and remains committed to traditional Olympic values.”

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