Kamila Valieva’s protracted doping scandal is causing a “loss of credibility” in figure skating, according to former Italian Olympian Valentina Marchei.
Valieva, 15, was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to compete in the women’s singles at the Beijing Olympics despite testing positive for a banned heart drug.
The decision has been met with incredulity, with Team USA chief Sarah Hirshland accusing Russia of a “systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport”.
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CAS ruled that RUSADA were correct to lift Valieva’s provisional suspension. The ruling specifically related to whether she can compete at the Games, with a further decision on whether she is in breach of doping regulations to be taken at a later date.
“There is a very strange atmosphere here in Beijing,” Eurosport expert Marchei said.
“They protect the athlete, she is just 15 and that’s the right thing to do. The delay of the notification is not the fault of Kamila and there is going to be a deeper investigation into that after the Olympic Games.

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“It’s true also that this, allowing her to skate, is going to create an enormous precedent in this sport and that causes the loss of credibility of figure skating. As much as Kamila should live her Olympic moment, also all the other competitors should feel protected and should feel part of a system that defends clear sport.
“I was a professional athlete, I know what it means to be a professional athlete, I know what it takes to prepare for an Olympic Games and I know what it means to skate for nine hours a day for that Olympic moment.
“I participated in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, after that also Russia went through the decision of the IOC to not compete under the flag. It’s sad and disappointing that situations like this are still happening. So, I am wondering what’s next.”
Barely 48 hours after Valieva had become the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympics – helping ROC win gold in the team event – a WADA-accredited lab in Sweden returned a positive test for the teenage sensation, despite the sample being taken on December 25.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) later released a statement that said RUSADA had not flagged that it was a "priority sample" – as it should have with the Games on the horizon – hence the delay.

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“The appeal of today, the decision of today, just applied only for the RUSADA decision of lifting her from the suspension, the fact there is going to be a further investigation that would mean also that if they are going to confirm that it wasn’t a clear situation she might lose her medal,” continued Marchei.
“Of course, it would put in a difficult situation all the other competitors. That’s why it is important we should go through this situation to be clear and that would protect all of the athletes taking part in this Olympic Games for them to feel safe, for them to feel part of something that they have passion for, they love, and they should feel safe in the system.
“It’s a tricky response to give. It’s very delicate. And you have to think just being 15, a decision to not allow her to compete would really have consequences physically and mentally on her. So first we should respect the girl that she is, and then we should be able to give other types of opinions, but first we should respect the emotions of a little girl that it won’t be easy for.
“We have been at her practices and it was heartbreaking to see her doing a lot of mistakes and crying on the arms of her coach. Before being athletes we are human beings and that’s the part we should respect in sport and that’s sometimes what journalists forget.”
The women’s singles starts on Tuesday (10:00 GMT) with the short programme and concludes with the free skate on Thursday (10:00 GMT).

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