Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NBC’s Johnny Weir Calls Kamila Valieva’s Fall ‘The Destruction Of A Young Person’

While figure skater Kamila Valieva unraveled, NBC commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir stayed on point at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday.

The two excoriated the Russian officials around her while offering a glimmer of sympathy for the drug-tainted 15-year-old, whose numerous mistakes dropped her from first place to fourth in the final.

As they did in the short program, the broadcasters mostly kept their distance during her routine, letting Valieva’s meltdown speak for herself. They sharpened their analysis while Valieva awaited her fate from the judges.

“I can’t imagine how tough this has been on Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her couldn’t make better decisions,” said Lipinski, who won gold at age 15 in 1998. “She’s the one now dealing with the consequences. And she’s just a teen and that’s not fair. … That being said, she should not have been allowed to skate in this Olympic event.”

Weir called it “the destruction of a young person.”

As Valieva cried, Weir offered: “On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she has been through. But that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been nowhere near this competition.”

Kamila Valieva tumbled to the ice and out of a medal.
Kamila Valieva tumbled to the ice and out of a medal.

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT via Getty Images

Valieva was cleared to compete despite testing positive for a banned heart medication said to boost endurance. She also disclosed taking two other heart drugs that aren’t specifically banned.

The medal ceremony was to be put on hold for the women’s figure skating event if Valieva finished in the top three, but that is moot now. “Thank God,” Weir said.

The Russian was an athlete inconsolable. “Again, I blame the adults around her,” Lipinski said.

Weir commended “all of the athletes who competed here cleanly, but it is heartbreaking.”

The former Olympian said people around her “should have shielded her from this, kept her from competing here.”

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