A distraught Kamila Valieva missed out on a medal at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, as Anna Shcherbakova was awarded gold ahead of Russian team-mate Alexandra Trusova and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto.
The Russian 15-year-old, who has been through a week and a half of turmoil, fell several times during her free skate to finish fourth. Shcherbakova was a deserved winner after a flawless routine, while Trusova risked it all with five quad jumps in her program.
There was serious pressure on Valieva, with focus switching from the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision allowing her to compete to the long term consequences of her positive test. CAS has not yet ruled on whether she will be able to retain the gold medal she won in the team event, before her positive test on December 25 was revealed.
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Before the final event, it had been confirmed that there would be no medal ceremony if the 15-year-old made the podium. But after emotions flowed from the winning skaters in the aftermath, the skaters did take to the stand to receive their Games mascot, with medals to be awarded later.
Attention will now turn to the detail of the Valieva case, especially the entourage around her. A 'B' sample is yet to be returned and CAS will rule if she will lose her team gold as a result of the banned heart drug she tested positive for - trimetazidine.
Away from the noise surrounding her, the Russian Olympic Committee were in a good place to become the first nation to complete a clean sweep of medals in women’s figure skating.
Skating in reverse order, with short program leader Valieva to go last, the competition really came alive in the penultimate group. American Mariah Bell raised the bar before her 16-year-old team-mate Alysa Liu delivered the routine of the round with a score of 139.45, moving to 208.95 - more than six points ahead of South Korea’s Yelim Kim.
But the biggest medal contenders, including Valieva, were to come in the final group with just 2.32 points separating Sakamoto in third with Valieva in first. But with questions surrounding the Russian, there was incentive to finish in the top four.

'Gold is slipping away dramatically' - Valieva suffers nightmare falls

South Korea’s Young You, who had never even gone to a World Championships before, got the last group off to a stunning start, starting an under-rotated triple axel. She barely made a single mistake during the rest of the routine to lay down a marker for the rest to come, becoming the first to enter the 140s.
Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi has previously shown her prowess on the biggest stage as a former world silver medallist and skating to music from The Lion King, she nailed a triple axel, before she fell in the double axel and triple toeloop, ending her medal chances. The rest of the program was superbly executed, but although it took her top of the standings, it was not going to be enough to keep her there.
Now we were about to see something really special. Before Valieva in the team competition, no female skater had landed a quad jump in Olympic competition - but world bronze medallist Alexandra Trusova, the first of the Russians to go, had no less than five planned.
The opening quad flip was landed brilliantly, before she did the same again with the quad salchow. A quad toeloop did not go to plan but she recovered well for her attempts at two quad lutz combinations. It took her to a season best score of 177.13, eight points below the world record, to race to a 37.29 point lead on 251.73 overall.
It was going to take something special to beat it - but three skaters were still to go and Japan’s Sakamoto was trying to avoid a Russian 1-2-3. She did not have the technical difficulty level planned by the ROC skaters, meaning it needed to be virtually perfect.
But she landed triples in the first half of her program and continued to mesmerise, producing a beautiful display. Sakamoto had a five point lead over Trusova from the short program, but it was only enough to move into silver medal position.
The competition was back to quad watch, with the world champion Shcherbakova, who has gone under the radar because of Valieva. She started with a quad flip and triple toeloop, following that up with another stunning quad flip - immediately given the green light by judges. A wonderful triple lutz and triple loop began the second half of her program and she continued to light up the score with green to deliver a phenomenal display.

'The eyes of the world are on her now' - Valieva prepares for free skate performance

It took the 17-year-old top of the standings by four points on 255.95, putting pressure on Valieva.
“The eyes of a planet are on her now” said Eurosport commentator Simon Reed. Valieva, skating to Bolero, the music which won Torvill and Dean gold in 1984, had three quads planned. The 15-year-old landed the first quad salchow, but she fell in the triple axel. It had to be perfect from here, but she again did not hold on to the quad toeloop, before falling on the triple toeloop.
It was turning into a nervy display from Valieva, who also fell on a quad toeloop, and it was becoming a difficult watch for an athlete who has been put through the wringer. The teenager continued to give it everything
She ended her routine in tears. As the score came up, it was revealed that Valieva had missed out on a medal, leaving her inconsolable. Applause rang out at the Capital Indoor Stadium, and Shcherbakova was confirmed as champion ahead of Trusova and Sakamoto.
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