Russian Skater Kamila Valieva Is Given Four-Year Ban Over Olympic Doping Case

Kamila Valieva, the teenage Russian figure skater whose positive doping test upended her sport at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and kept more than a dozen other athletes from receiving their medals, was banned from competition for four years on Monday by the top court in sports.

The punishment, announced by a three-member arbitration panel at the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, was related to a tainted sample that Valieva, who was 15 at the time, had given at the Russian national championships only weeks before the Games. That result emerged in the middle of the Olympics, and only after Valieva had led Russia to victory in the team competition.

The ban will be retroactive to the date she gave the sample, Dec. 25, 2021, meaning it will end in time for Valieva to compete at the next Winter Olympics, in Italy in 2026. Now 17, Valieva was ordered to forfeit “any titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes and appearance money” earned after her positive doping sample was collected.

The decision, arriving almost two years after the end of the Beijing Games, is most likely the final twist in a yearslong fight that wove together threads familiar to followers of recent Olympics: athletic greatness, Russian doping, bitter accusations and whispers of coverups. But at its heart, the case also highlighted the inability of global sports to enforce rules on doping and to punish athletes and countries in a timely manner.

Valieva had claimed that her failed drug test came after she mistakenly took a heart medication, trimetazidine, prescribed to her grandfather. It was one of three medications found in her sample, but efforts to immediately eject her from the Games were unsuccessful.

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