The Kamila Valieva doping case goes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport

Nineteen months after Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s positive doping test prevented the awarding of the team figure skating medals at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, nothing has been resolved. Valieva’s suitability is still being debated and the medals remain in storage.

The case is one of the most confusing chapters in the history of Olympic doping and could finally reach resolution on Tuesday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport begins three days of hearings in Lausanne, Switzerland. Whatever the CAS panel decides should end the saga and lead to the awarding of medals, although it could take months for such a decision to be issued.

Three companies will appeal at the CAS hearing. The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union are calling for Valieva to be banned retroactively to December 25, 2021, the day she gave a sample that contained the banned heart drug trimetazidine, a drug normally used Older people with heart disease are given one that can also increase athletic performance. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency argues that Valieva deserves only a minor penalty for an anti-doping violation because she was “not guilty or negligent” in allowing the substance to enter her body.

Complicating matters is that Valieva, who is expected to testify remotely, was 15 years old at the time of the positive test, granting her certain protections that WADA defines as a “protected person.”

Valieva’s test was announced on February 11, 2022, three days after the Russian Olympic Committee figure skaters won the gold medal in the team competition ahead of the United States. The revelation led to the cancellation of the team competition medal ceremony. RUSADA initially suspended Valieva, then lifted the ban a day later, after which WADA asked CAS to reinstate the ban. CAS rejected the appeal and allowed RUSADA to investigate the matter. RUSADA’s investigation lasted months before it was announced last February that Valieva should not be disqualified. At this point, WADA had asked CAS to suspend Valieva.

“The sad thing is that this is a routine case,” said Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, expressing frustration with the way Russia has handled doping cases in recent years. expressed loudly. “Yes, there is more at stake, but it is a relatively simple positive test. Many of these cases are handled in the global system. This was delayed and hijacked by the Russian system that caused this tragedy.”

Meanwhile, members of the U.S. team are still waiting for their Olympic medals, no matter what color they will be. Last month, the American skaters asked the CAS to allow a U.S. representative to attend the hearings, which the CAS refused.

On Monday, US Figure Skating posted a series of photos and videos on social media showing a display of nine empty medal boxes – one for each skater on the team – at the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee Museum in Colorado Springs. In a video posted to US Figure Skating’s Instagram page, 2022 individual gold medalist and team member Nathan Chen said, “This empty medal box represents a negation of the success and accomplishments of this incredible team.”

His teammate Vincent Zhou released a lengthy statement via advocacy group Global Athlete in which he criticized the IOC, WADA and CAS for “the painful process we have been through” and claimed, without providing evidence, that “my teammates and I “Aware of widespread doping by other Russian skaters.”

“As my team’s empty medal boxes show, the global anti-doping system is failing athletes,” Zhou’s statement also said. “The revered elitism of the Olympics is based on the principles of clean sport and fair competition. Yet the governing bodies whose job it is to uphold and enforce these principles continually violate their supposed mission and fail to act on behalf of the people they serve: the athletes.

“When the awards ceremony for the Beijing 2022 figure skating team event finally takes place, it will be a symbol of the gross failings of the IOC, CAS, RUSADA and other global sports administrators. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

With the end of the doping ban, Russia sees itself even more as an outsider

The Valieva saga is the latest in a series of high-profile doping cases involving Russia, the largest of which was a state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. WADA imposed a four-year ban on Russia for the Sochi program, but the sentence was reduced to two years by CAS. That ban, which meant Russia could not use its country name or flag at international events, ended last December.

However, WADA claims that Russia is still non-compliant. Last Friday, the agency’s board imposed new sanctions against Russia because the Russian government has failed to implement the WADA Code into its legal system, which WADA now requires all countries to do. WADA’s new decree, while not as strict as previous restrictions, bans Russia from hosting international events or flying its flag at the Olympics or Paralympics until the code is adopted.

Currently, many of the new sanctions are invalid as Russia and Belarus have not received invitations to participate in the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, a result of the IOC’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, although some Russian athletes may be allowed to take part Neutrals.

While the TAS ruling is intended to be the final judgment in the Valieva matter, any of the three appellate authorities can apply to a federal court in Switzerland to overturn the result, although such appeals generally must be made on procedural issues.

“I think the hardest thing is [that] the complexity of the [Valieva case] is significant and very real,” Sara Hirshland, CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said in a recent media call. “Who has the authority to make which decisions and according to which procedures? There are a lot of acronym organizations that play a role in this and it’s cumbersome and cumbersome.” The Kamila Valieva doping case goes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport

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