ITA confirms Russian skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for banned substance

The International Testing Agency says Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has tested positive for a banned substance but her Olympic fate remains undetermined.

In a statement released late Thursday, the ITA said Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine from a sample collected on Dec. 25 during the Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg.

According to the ITA, Valieva — who is 15 and considered a minor — was reported to be positive on Feb. 8 was immediately suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). The suspension would have kept her from competing in the women’s singles event later in the Beijing Games, but she successfully appealed the ruling on Feb. 9. However, “under the World Anti-Doping Code, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Skating Union (ISU), RUSADA and the IOC have a right to appeal the decision to lift the provisional suspension before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).” The IOC will appeal the overturning of Valieva’s suspension and intends to get a ruling from the CAS before her next competition on Feb. 15 — the women’s event.

Valieva’s positive test was not made public initially due to her age. The ITA says it is only identifying her now because of the “heightened public interest” in the case, due to the fact that Valieva helped the Russian Olympic Committee win gold in the team event on Feb. 7.

The medals from the team event were supposed to be awarded on Feb. 8 but the ceremony has been indefinitely postponed due to what the IOC has called “a legal matter.”

If Russia has to forfeit the team event medals, Canada would earn a bronze after initially finishing fourth.

The Canadian Olympic Committee put out a statement on Friday urging a timely resolution.

“We have the same questions as everyone else about the team figure skating case,” COC chief sport officer Eric Myles said. “It’s important that a fair process unfolds and the integrity of sport is protected. Our hope is that this is resolved quickly and the medallists get the medal moment they’ve earned here in Beijing.”

The Russian Olympic Committee put out another statement later Friday, saying it “takes exhaustive measures to protect the rights and interests of the members of the ROC Team, and to preserve the honestly won Olympic gold medal.”

The ROC adds the doping test “does not apply to the period of the Olympic Games.”

The statement also says Valieva tested negative on other tests before and during the Olympics.

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