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ITA Confirms Kamila Valieva’s Drug Test Returned Results of Banned Substance

Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, reacts in the women's team free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Beijing.

The International Testing Agency (ITA) confirmed Russian Olympic Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva’s drug test results were positive for a banned substance.

The sample was taken during the 2022 Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on December 25, and it “returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the non-specified prohibited substance trimetazidine.”

The heart medication has been on the banned list since 2014. It is the same drug swimmer Sun Yang of China tested positive for in 2014, and it is known for improving cardiac function, labeled as a “metabolic modulator” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). 

According to the ITA, the sample was returned on February 8, 2022—a day after the team figure skating competition at the Winter Games.

She was immediately provisionally suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency. Per the ITA, “Pursuant to Article 15 of the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the decision of RUSADA imposing a provisional suspension automatically prohibited the athlete from participation in all sports during the provisional suspension, including the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”

Valieva challenged the provisional suspension on Feb. 9, and a hearing took place that day. RUSADA decided to lift it, allowing her to participate in the Beijing Olympics. However, her eligibility for the next competition could be up in the air.

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“Under the World Anti-Doping Code, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Skating Union (ISU), RUSADA and the IOC have a right to appeal the decision to lift the provisional suspension before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” the ITA said in a statement. “The IOC will exercise its right to appeal and not to wait for the reasoned decision by RUSADA, because a decision is needed before the next competition the athlete is due to take part in (Women Single Skating, 15 February 2022).

“Following the delegation of the IOC’s anti-doping program in relation to the Olympic Games to the ITA, the ITA will lead the appeal before CAS on behalf of the IOC.” 

Although Valieva is just 15 years old and is therefore a minor and not subject to public disclosure of her name or case, the ITA said it released information based on a need for official information due to increased public interest.

Whether or not the ROC will be awarded gold in the team figure skating event is still unknown. Per the ITA, the decision on the medal results can be made by the International Skating Union after a decision has been made on the case.

The award ceremony for the team figure skating competition at the Winter Games was delayed on Wednesday due to what the IOC spokesperson said was due to a “legal consultation” required with the governing body of skating. The ROC was set to be awarded gold, the United States silver and Japan bronze.

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