in the end it became one of the most uncomfortable and unpleasant sporting moments in recent times.
“It should never have happened,” said former Olympic champion robin cousins, who was overcome with emotion during his comment.
Reading: 15 year old olympic skater
Elsewhere, there was anger and sympathy as the valieva games came to an end…
- the sports table podcast: can the olympics bounce back from another doping scandal?
who is valieva?
valieva came into the beijing games as the biggest star in a highly rated russian olympic committee (roc) team.
The acclaim increased when, in the opening days of competition, she became the first woman to perform a quad jump at an Olympics, doing so in the team event.
But shortly after that jump helped Roc claim the gold, the story began to change.
The medal ceremony was unusually delayed and it was later revealed that Valieva had failed a drug test in December.
had tested positive for trimetazidine, used to prevent angina attacks but on the banned list because it has been shown to improve physical efficiency.
why was valieva still competing?
But Valieva was allowed to compete in the individual event, first in Tuesday’s short program and then Thursday’s free skate, because a court ruling lifted her provisional ban after a series of appeals and reappeals.
the court of sports arbitration (cas) noted “exceptional circumstances” regarding his age and timing of the test result, which occurred during the games and almost six weeks after the sample was taken.
He said he would do “irreparable harm” to Valieva if she was not allowed to compete.
the international olympic committee (ioc) said there would be no medal ceremony if the russian finished on the podium. The full doping investigation has yet to be done, which means Valieva’s score could still be removed.
what happened in the final session of the event?
and so on until Thursday and the climax of the competition.
As a leader after the short program, in which she stumbled but comfortably led the standings, Valieva was the last to skate: a score of 255.95 by her teammate Anna Shcherbakova, the winner.
But Valieva faltered early in her routine and, with the eyes of the world upon her, fell to the ice after a series of mistakes, the crowd gasping in disbelief.
“This is hard to watch,” said BBC commentator Katherine Downes.
“after his second mistake, it was like he was spinning as fast as he could,” former olympic champion jayne torvill said afterward.
“It was like he just wanted to get it over with and get off the ice.”
When her routine was over, the teen was soon in tears and sobbed as she waited for her scores. she finished fourth, out of the medal spots.
‘Someone thought having her do that was better than going home to her family’
cousins, Britain’s 1980 Olympic figure skating champion, also got emotional as he analyzed the action.
“Somebody thought having her do that was better than having to go home to her family and wait and figure this out, knowing she might have two more Olympics ahead of her,” he said, pausing to calm his thoughts. own emotions. .
“I’m a little speechless for all the wrong reasons.
“valieva’s unquestionable talent and quality: to see him put in this field in that way, it should never have happened.”
‘What is the long-term effect on this 15-year-old child?’
bbc sport’s sonia oxley at the capital indoor stadium in beijing
You almost wanted to look away, it felt wrong to be looking.
If you hadn’t been following the story for the past 10 days, you would have seen a skater, albeit a gold medal favorite, go down multiple times.
but this was a 15-year-old, whose failed drug test has been very public, and who had already been crying on the ice once this week.
She had a lot of Russian support in the arena and there were big gasps when she fell for the first time. But as the mistakes racked up and she fell again on the ice, it was more of a sympathetic applause of encouragement that began to ripple.
She didn’t let her emotions show immediately, just threw a hand up in the air. but then the tears came and she just sobbed while she waited for the result. the chants of “well done” from those standing brought him little comfort.
Watching all of this, you can’t help but wonder what the long-term effect of going through all of this on the world’s biggest stage would be. Watching this unfold, all you could think was: she’s a girl.
‘she became the face of a problem bigger than herself’ – what’s next?
The next step will be for the authorities to deal with the matter of valieva’s failed drug test in its entirety.
This will determine if the roc gold in the team event and the fourth place of Valieva in the individual event will be maintained.
There will also be intense questions sent to the authorities (IOC, ROC, CAS and the International Skating Union in particular) about how this situation was allowed to develop to the point of overshadowing the competition and leaving a 15 year period . -old in this position.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has already said it will investigate the teenager’s environment, including coaches, doctors and other adults around her.
Eventual gold medalist Shcherbakova, 17, is, like Valieva, trained by Russia’s Eteri Tutberidze.
“The arrival of these young people has amazed us,” said the cousins. “we saw them – 12 years with the quad [quadruple jump].
“how is this happening? we know they teach them very young.
“Obviously there is a problem: how and why? It’s not a question of talent. It’s how that talent is nurtured or created.”
Christopher Dean, who won gold for Great Britain alongside Torvill, said the process had been “farcical”.
“The organization, the politics surrounding it to get to this point has been a real disaster,” he added.
“and the loser is figure skating, the women’s event suffers.”
There will also be more debate given that a Russian has tested positive for a banned substance when the country is already banned from international competition due to its doping past.
valieva games may be over, but this story is far from over.
- ‘I can’t wait to get started’: The remarkable story of Christian Eriksen’s comeback as he returns to the Premier League
- ‘All good music makes me happy’: A tasteful selection of mood-lifting songs curated by Martin Freeman