Olympic Live: Court rules Russian skater Valieva can compete
The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete for a second gold medal at the Winter Olympics despite failing a pre-Games drug test.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Monday that the 15-year-old Valieva, the favorite for the women’s individual gold, does not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full hearing into her positive test for the heart drug trimetazidine. The positive test was Dec. 25.
The Russian team can still aim for the first women’s figure skating podium sweep in Olympic history. The event starts with the short program Tuesday and concludes Thursday with the free skate. Valieva is the favorite to win gold.
The ruling only addresses whether Valieva can keep skating before her case is resolved. It doesn’t decide the fate of the one gold medal that she has already won.
Olympic champion Jamie Anderson says life in Beijing’s pandemic bubble has been difficult for her mental health, leaving her “a little bit tapped out” and “excited to go home.”
The American snowboarder failed to qualify for the finals in women’s big air Monday. She said the Beijing Games have been a draining slog for her and her teammates.
“We’ve been here for so long and I feel like our whole crew is just over it,” Anderson said. “Just barely hanging on by a fricking strand of hair. Just like, tired of the food, homesick, tired of the pressure.”
The 31-year-old Anderson came to China a two-time defending champion in slopestyle and won silver in big air at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. She finished ninth trying to defend her slopestyle titles last week, then said on Instagram that she “straight up couldn’t handle the pressure” and that her “mental health and clarity just hasn’t been on par.”
Anderson says she’s not ready to retire, but she’s not sure what’s next for her as far as competitive snowboarding. She plans to take some time and free ride, then reset and see how she feels.
The International Olympic Committee says it wanted the entire investigation of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s doping case to be completed during the Olympics.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to announce Monday afternoon Beijing time whether Valieva can compete in the women’s figure skating event that starts Tuesday, where she would be a heavy favorite.
But they won’t decide now whether Valieva is guilty of doping, nor whether the Russian skaters can keep the gold team medal they won with Valieva’s help. Those questions will be answered by a separate investigation led by the Russian anti-doping agency.
Valieva is the strong favorite for gold if CAS lets her compete in the individual competition despite a positive doping test from before the Olympics. It was only revealed last week after she competed in the team competition.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams says it wanted all legal issues “settled once and for all before this competition starts.”
Adams says the parties – which include the IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian team – could not agree on a process.
Adams says “it’s a deeply concerning situation for us and of course for all athletes” affected.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France broke their own ice dance world record to win the Olympic gold medal that narrowly eluded them four years ago in Pyeongchang.
The last figure skaters on the ice for the free dance, Papadakis and Cizeron scored 136.15 points to “Elegie” by the early 20th century French composer Gabriel Faure.
That gave them 226.98 points, beating their previous mark of 226.61 set at the 2019 NHK Trophy in Japan. It was enough to hold off Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.
The Russian world champions took silver with 220.51 points while the American duo of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue claimed bronze in their final Olympics. The two have already announced they plan to retire.
Another pair of Americans, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, finished fourth.
Eileen Gu has made it through to slopestyle finals in freestyle skiing. She overcame a number of bobbles in her first qualifying run to nail down a solid second trip down the mountain and secure her spot in the top 12.
The 18-year-old American-born freestyler is competing for her mother’s home country of China at the Beijing Games. She won the gold medal in big air last week, and will also compete in the halfpipe contest later this week.
While Gu awaited her score after the second run, she stood at the bottom and ate a dumpling. Then, she rushed off to the halfpipe, where practice had begun about an hour earlier.
The slopestyle final is set for Tuesday.
Kaillie Humphries has captured a third Olympic gold medal, and her first for the U.S.
The former Canadian bobsledder was an easy winner of the inaugural women’s monobob event. It’s the first sliding medal for the U.S. in seven events so far — the others being four in luge and two in skeleton — at the Beijing Games.
Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. was second. It was the fourth medal of Meyers Taylor’s career, the most won by anyone in USA Bobsled history.
Humphries has four medals now as well, the first three of those for Canada. She began sliding for the U.S. in 2019 and got her citizenship in December. That allowed her to represent the U.S. in Beijing.
Christine de Bruin of Canada won bronze.
Canadian forward Melodie Daoust has returned to the lineup for the women’s hockey semifinal game against Switzerland at the Beijing Olympics.
Daoust missed four games after being sidelined with an upper-body injury sustained in the second period of a 12-1 preliminary round-opening win over the Swiss. She is taking part in the semifinal pre-game skate and listed back at her familiar spot on Canada’s second line alongside center Sarah Fillier and winger Natalie Spooner.
For Switzerland, forward Lisa Ruedi returns after missing a 4-2 quarterfinal win over the Russian team while spending two days in COVID-19 isolation. The Swiss team honored her during the game by hanging her No. 12 jersey behind their bench.
The defending Olympic champion United States faces Finland in the other semifinal later Monday.
Slopestyle silver medalist Julia Marino of the United States has dropped out of the Olympic snowboard big air contest after a fall in practice.
The 24-year-old Marino was set to jump 23rd in the 30-snowboarder field during qualifying Monday, just ahead of 2018 gold medalist Anna Gasser of Austria. It was a surprise when she didn’t appear.
Team USA snowboarding said in a statement that Marino fell during practice a few days ago and is “prioritizing her health.”
Marino’s scratch appears to have been a late decision. The Connecticut resident shared video of herself practicing at Big Air Shougang on Instagram about 12 hours before qualifying began, encouraging followers to tune in.
The embattled coach of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, whose future at the Olympics will be announced later Monday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, showed up to watch her daughter compete in the ice dance competition in Beijing.
Eteri Tutberidze stood against the wall in an inconspicuous corner of Capital Indoor Stadium to watch Diana Davis compete with partner Gleb Smolkin in the free dance. Davis and Smolkin finished well out of medal contention.
Tutberidze has come under fire after Valieva’s drug test from December was flagged last week for traces of a banned heart medication. The case was referred to CAS, which met for about 5 1/2 hours at a Beijing hotel late Sunday, to decide whether to allow the 15-year-old gold medal favorite to compete in the women’s competition beginning Tuesday night.
Their decision is expected Monday afternoon in Beijing, just when Valieva is next scheduled to practice.
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