Russian Olympics Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva‘s doping scandal hasn’t sat well with many former U.S. Olympic skaters, including Tara Lipinski, 39, and Johnny Weir, 37. The duo, who have been working as Beijing Winter Olympics commentators for NBC Sports, addressed the controversy surrounding the 15-year-old when she performed her short program on Tuesday, Feb. 15. As Kamila earned the top score of the day (82.16), and then teared up after her skate, Tara and Johnny remained completely silent to protest the Court of Arbitration for Sports’ decision to let Kamila compete.
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir weigh in on Kamila Valiyeva's short program. pic.twitter.com/LdjY4LQOvv
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 16, 2022
“All I feel I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valieva at the Olympics,” Johnny said to break the silence. Tara, who similarly didn’t speak until Kamila’s skate was done, then chimed in to say, “She had a positive test. We should not have seen this skate.” Tara continued, “I don’t know how many times over the past year that I’ve said she is the best figure skater I’ve ever seen. And just saying that now not only makes me confused, it makes me angry and disoriented by everything I thought that I knew.”
The pair also addressed the controversy while Kamila was warming up for her skate. “To be honest, I almost don’t believe what I’m seeing,” Tara told her co-host. “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.”
Former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir condemn the decision to allow Russian skater Kamila Valieva to compete following a failed drug test.
“This is a slap in the face to the Olympic Games, to our sport, and to every athlete that’s ever competed at the Olympics clean.” pic.twitter.com/tnn8WcPzf4
— The Recount (@therecount) February 14, 2022
Other former U.S. figure skaters like Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu have similarly expressed outrage that Kamila’s still competing in Beijing. Adam simply tweeted “disgrace” after Kamila’s short program. American track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson, 21, has hard feelings about the scandal as well, considering she was banned from the Tokyo Olympics last year for marijuana use. “The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” Sha’Carri said on Twitter when comparing her Kamila’s situations.
Kamila tested positive for the banned substance Trimetazidine on Feb. 8, the day after she won a gold medal in team figure skating. However, the CAS decided days later the Kamila could continue in the Olympics because her age makes her a “protected person.” She returned to the skating rink for Tuesday’s short program.
Due to the controversy, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement that Kamila, who is favored to win gold in the Women’s Singles ice skating, won’t get a medal ceremony if she secures a spot on the podium.