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Kamila Valieva tripped and fell during a nervous performance to end her controversial Beijing Olympics, while her Russian Olympic Committee teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal Thursday in the women’s free skate.
valieva’s error-ridden skating left her in fourth place, medalless and in tears. The 15-year-old was heavily favored to win gold, but she returns home with nothing from the women’s program and still faces investigation for a positive drug test.
In the end, Roc’s teammate Shcherbakova won gold in impressive fashion, but she also seemed devastated when the final scores came in.
Reading: Gold medal women’s figure skating
the beijing games were supposed to crown valieva as the sport’s next superstar. But after the revelation of her failed drug test in December due to the banned heart drug trimetazidine, and the sports arbitration court’s decision earlier this week to allow her to compete, the competition has been overshadowed by Valieva’s involvement. .
If Valieva had won a medal, there would have been no ceremony due to the ongoing investigation, and the figure skating community was outraged that she was allowed to compete.
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Nobody seemed happy with Thursday’s result. Shcherbakova, who finished with a combined score of 255.95 over the two days of competition, was left alone as much of the roc team consoled Valieva.
valieva did not speak to reporters in the mixed zone after her performance, but instead strode quickly across the room without stopping.
Shcherbakova, who spoke to reporters, didn’t offer much information about what had happened with Valieva, but insisted she had no mixed emotions herself after winning the top spot on the podium.
“No, I’m just happy. I’m just happy,” Shcherbakova said. “I still haven’t figured out what happened. I can’t believe the Olympics are over for me already.”
alexandra trusova, also representing the roc, won the silver medal after a performance with five successful quad jumps. but a sobbing Trusova said that she did not want to participate in the medal ceremony, although she did eventually attend the event.
kaori sakamoto from japan won the bronze medal.
“I don’t even know what to feel or what to think,” Tara Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist, said on the NBC broadcast. “you’re watching [valieva] go through this pain, she’s 15 years old. i blame the adults around her for putting her in this position, and all the other athletes, for what they’ve been through this week. the possibility that there won’t Whether it’s a medal ceremony or a podium – that’s what every little girl dreams of when she thinks of the Olympics.”
Alysa Liu, 16, had the best finish among the trio of American women in the competition with a combined score of 208.95 and a seventh-place finish. mariah bell, who had a clean skate, finished in 10th place and karen chen in 16th. several members of the usa team. uu. sitting in the stands they left before valieva took to the ice on Thursday.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart drug at the Russian championships in December, but the result was not revealed until last week, shortly after she helped win a team gold medal that is now also in doubt.
valieva was cleared to compete in the free skate when the court of sports arbitration ruled that she had protected status as a minor and would suffer “irreparable harm” if she was not allowed to perform. the court did not rule on the full scope of the case, leaving that to anti-doping investigators.
“Do I feel sorry for her? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t say that,” Sakamoto said after his short show. “Of course, there were times when I thought, ‘what’s going to happen? what’s going on?'”
valieva has claimed that trimetazidine entered her system accidentally. But the world anti-doping agency filed a brief saying that two other substances she admitted to taking, l-carnitine and hypoxene, although both legal, undermined the argument that a banned substance could have been ingested by mistake.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.