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Olympic officials silent amid reports star Russian skater tested positive for banned drug

Russian figure skater reportedly fails drug test
Russian figure skater reportedly fails drug test 01:28

Beijing — Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian superstar who was expected to deliver her nation its third straight Olympic gold medal in women's figure skating, practiced as usual on Thursday hours after reports surfaced that she had tested positive for a banned substance. As CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas reports from the Beijing Winter Olympics village, if confirmed, a positive test could cost Russia its gold medal in the team skating competition and knock Valieva — considered a favorite — out of contention in the individual event next week.

But the International Olympic Committee would provide no information about why the medal ceremony for the team event remained on hold Thursday, days after the judges' score cards should have put Valieva atop the podium.

The team event was Monday, and Russia's team took the highest score, in front of the United States and then Japan.

Beijing Olympics Doping Russia
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee's figure skating team, trains at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, February 10, 2022. Jeff Roberson/AP

The IOC said earlier this week that an ongoing "legal issue" was preventing the awarding of medals for the event, and on Thursday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said he couldn't provide any further information, refusing to even confirm a drugs test was involved.

"I can't comment on speculation that I've seen overnight," he said at a daily media briefing in Beijing. "We had a situation arise at short notice that has legal implications and I'm not going to comment on a legal case in a press conference."

Russia is already competing under suspension at the Olympics after the country was banned for state-sponsored doping. The sanctions mean the team is competing not under the Russian national flag, but only under the banner of its national Olympic committee.

Russia banned from Olympics for four years amid doping scandal 01:34

On Thursday, Russia's leading sports news outlet reported that Valieva's had been placed under temporary suspension pending a doping test, but that it had been "lifted," and thus Russia would hold onto its gold medal in the team skating event.

The Russian news website did not provide a source for its information, and Olympic officials in Beijing kept their lips sealed. There was still no indication when the medal ceremony might take place, or which nation would stand on the highest podium when it did.

Other Russian outlets had reported that a sample obtained before Valieva won the European championship last month in Estonia, a performance that solidified her status as the leader of Russia's "quad squad" of elite women's figure skaters, had tested positive for a banned substance.
"She is not suspended," Russian figure skating federation spokeswoman Olga Ermolina said, offering no further detail.
The International Skating Union, the sport's governing body, said in a statement that it "cannot disclose any information about any possible anti-doping rule violation."

The Russian doping mastermind on the run 12:35

Valieva ran through her program and skated with teammate Alexandra Trusova while getting pointers from coach Eteri Tutberidze at the practice rink on Thursday. She flashed a smile to one of her coaches near the end of the roughly 30-minute session, and none of the skaters took questions from reporters.
The typically tight-lipped Russian team was even more guarded than usual during the men's free skate, where Mark Kondratiuk simply said, "No comment," to a series of questions about the squad and whether he thought Valieva's case would be resolved.

The drug reportedly detected in Valieva's sample, trimetazidine, is a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks and treats vertigo, according to the European Union's medicines agency. It is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it can help endurance and increase blood flow efficiency, both of which could help a figure skater.
The most famous case of trimetazidine in sports doping involved Chinese star swimmer Sun Yang, the three-time Olympic champ who served a three-month ban in 2014. Russian bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva also tested positive for it at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics; she was disqualified from the two-woman bobsled event and served an eight-month ban.
It was unclear whether Valieva might have applied for a therapeutic use exemption, or if she has a history of heart problems.

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