International Tribunal Bans Russian Figure Skating Phenom Kamila Valieva Until 2025

Over two years post the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, a final ruling was issued on Monday by an international sports tribunal in Switzerland, determining that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva had “committed an anti-doping rule violation.”

The Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) mandated a suspension for Valieva from international competition until December 2025, citing the presence of Trimetazidine in her sample collected during the Russian National Championships in St Petersburg on December 25, 2021.

The ruling extends to disqualifying all competitions where Valieva earned medals starting from December 2021, encompassing the 2022 Winter Games. Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, criticized Russia’s sports doping system, stating, “Russia has hijacked every Olympic games since 2014.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a stern statement calling for accountability for sports officials, doctors, and coaches in Russia, emphasizing the gravity of doping involving minors. Valieva’s suspension and the nullification of her performances raise questions about the distribution of medals in Beijing’s team skating competition, with the International Skating Union expected to make a statement on Tuesday.

For Team USA, this development potentially paves the way for them to receive the gold medal in the team competition, where Russia initially claimed the top spot, followed by the United States and Japan. Madison Hubbell, a member of the U.S. figure skating team, expressed relief at the ruling, highlighting the delayed recognition as bittersweet.

With Valieva sidelined, the International Skating Union’s decision on medal redistribution is highly anticipated. U.S. officials, including Sarah Hirshland of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, celebrated the ruling as a win for clean sport, expressing confidence that American athletes would finally be acknowledged for their apparent victory in Beijing.

Tygart viewed the decision as a victory for clean sport and hoped it would prompt more rigorous enforcement of doping rules to address Russian wrongdoing. The controversy surrounding Valieva’s case affected numerous athletes worldwide, leading to the suspension of medal awards for the team figure skating competition during the Olympics.