Russian Olympics Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva, 15, resumed her participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 15, after she was briefly sidelined for testing positive for a banned substance. Kamila took to the ice for the short program, and much to the chagrin of skaters all around the world, she earned the top score of the day (82.16) heading into Thursday night’s finals, where she’s favored to win gold. Kamila’s controversy has particularly outraged famous U.S. figure skaters like Adam Rippon, who simply tweeted “disgrace” following Kamila’s performance at the short program.
— Adam Rippon (@AdamRippon) February 15, 2022
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir also expressed their displeasure at Kamila competing during their NBC News commentary of her skate. While Kamila was warming up, Tara, 39, said, “To be honest, I almost don’t believe what I’m seeing. Seeing her on Olympic ice right now with everything we’ve discovered over the last week. I did not think this was going to happen and I don’t think it should be happening.” Tara and Johnny basically stayed completely silent when Tara skated. “All I feel like I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valieva at the Olympics,” Johnny, 37, said, while Tara added, “She had a positive test. We should not have seen this skate.”
Tara Lipinski during Kamila Valieva’s warm-up: “To be honest, I almost don’t believe what I’m seeing. Seeing her on Olympic ice right now with everything we’ve discovered over the last week. I did not think this was going to happen and I don’t think it should be happening.” pic.twitter.com/F1HqxH0V78
— D'Arcy Maine (@darcymaine_espn) February 15, 2022
“All I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valiyeva” – @JohnnyGWeir. Both him and @taralipinski were practically silent during her skate. They have done a great job in helping the audience understand that there is no place for cheaters in the Olympics.
— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_TV) February 15, 2022
Both Tara and Johnny had previously slammed the Court of Arbitration for Sports’ decision to let Kamila keep competing in the Olympics. Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Bradie Tennell and more U.S. skaters have also publicly spoken out about the controversy. “This shouldn’t be happening,” Ashley said on Twitter as Kamila skated in the short program. Bradie said she was “truly shocked” by the entire situation. The International Skating Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency have also condemned Kamila’s ongoing participation in the Olympics.
The support from y’all is everything on a day like this. I can’t even relay to everyone how annoyed I am about how helpless I truly feel. We all pledge for clean sport but the event isn’t going to have a medal ceremony if one athlete gets top 3? What?
— Mirai Nagasu (@mirai_nagasu) February 14, 2022
— Ashley Wagner (@AshWagner2010) February 15, 2022
— Bradie Tennell (@bradie_tennell) February 14, 2022
Kamila was in the midst of competing in Beijing before her positive drug test. The Russian athlete won a gold medal in team figure skating on Feb. 7, the day before the drug test that she provided on December 25 turned out to be positive for the prohibited substance Trimetazidine, which is commonly used to treat heart patients, according to NBC News. The CAS declared on Feb. 14 that Kamila could continue in the Olympics and cited her age (15) as their reason for letting her do so.
American track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson has been very outspoken about the scandal. The 21-year-old was banned from the Tokyo Olympics last year for marijuana use, so she’s not happy Kamila gets to keep competing. “Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” Sha’Carri said on Twitter.
Although Kamila is favored to win gold in the Women’s Singles ice skating, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement that the athlete won’t get a medal ceremony if she secures a spot on the podium.