The International Skating Union resolved on Tuesday to gradually raise the minimum age for senior competitors competing at the international level from 15 to 17.
The ruling came only months after Kamila Valieva, a 15-year-old Russian figure skater was caught up in a doping scandal during the 2022 Olympics. Valieva was strongly favoured to win gold in the women’s individual competition after becoming the first woman to land a quadruple jump in the Olympic competition after accomplishing the skill during the team event, but a drug test from December came up positive for a banned substance. Despite the favourable result, Valieva was allowed to compete in the individual event and finished fourth.
What Is Kamila Valieva’s Background?
Kamila Valieva is a Russian figure skater who was born on April 26, 2006.
Valieva has received a slew of awards in her short career, despite her youth. She is the current champion of the European Figure Skating Championships, the Rostelecom Cup, the Skate Canada International, and the Russian Figure Skating Championships, all of which will be held in 2022. She took silver in the Russian nationals in 2021.
Valieva also holds the world records for the women’s short programme, free skating, and total scores, having set a total of nine world records throughout her career.
She is the second woman (after her teammate Alexandra Trusova) to land a quadruple toe loop, the fourth woman to land a quadruple jump of any kind, and the third woman (after Alysa Liu of the United States and her teammate Sofia Akateva) to land a triple Axel and quadruple jump in the same programme.
What Is the Source of Kamila Valieva’s Controversy?
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Multiple media reports reported that the medal ceremony for the team figure skating event had been postponed due to Valieva’s positive drug test. Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency, on February 11.
Trimetazidine is a medicine that is used to treat chest pain or pressure caused by coronary heart disease, which is caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart. It makes blood arteries dilate, which allows the heart to perform more efficiently for longer. In the WADA’s list of banned substances, it is classified as a “hormone and metabolic modulator.” Athletes are prohibited from using due to historical proof of performance enhancement.
The debate, on the other hand, is multifaceted. Valieva received her positive diagnosis after submitting a routine urine sample on Dec. 25, while still skating in the Russian National Figure Skating Championships. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) took it, but it wasn’t evaluated at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory until February 8, a day after the team event ended. This meant it had been more than six weeks after she had submitted the positive sample.
The reason behind the long wait for results is unknown, however, COVID-19 is blamed by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.
On Her Return to Russia, Valieva Receives a Standing Ovation from Her Followers.
Valieva didn’t get a lot of applause in Beijing, but things quickly changed. Valieva was greeted with thunderous cheers by Russian supporters upon her return to the nation on Saturday. Valieva “felt better” since returning home, according to Ivliev, the aforementioned speed skater. The 21-year-old has stated his support for the young figure skater, and it appears that he isn’t the only Russian Olympian who is rooting for her.
According to the Associated Press, Ivliev stated, “Yes, the entire plane supported her.” “We spoke good words to her because the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death were quite difficult. We wish her the best of luck in moving forward and leaving the issue behind, no matter how difficult it may be.”
Valieva Outperforms the Competition in The Women’s Short Programme, and Two More Cardiac Drugs Are Disclosed.
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Valieva’s performance was unaffected by the controversy surrounding her. Valieva won the women’s short programme with a score of 82.16, sending her to the free skate competition on Feb. 17. In the top five, she was joined by Shcerbakova (No. 2) and Trusova (No. 4). Valieva was one among 25 skaters that advanced, a group that would have been 24 had it not for her doping controversy.
The New York Times reported the next day that Valieva’s drug test found two additional heart medications: Hypoxen and L-carnitine. Those two medications are not forbidden by the WADA, unlike trimetazidine, the second cardiac prescription she tested positive for, and Valieva apparently identified them on a doping control form.
The “trifecta of chemicals” Valeiva used, according to US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, “seem to be geared at improving endurance, minimising fatigue, and promoting greater efficiency in using oxygen.” Valieva’s mother believes her daughter took Hypoxen for cardiac “variations,” and Valieva claims she ate her grandfather’s trimetazidine by accident.