BEIJING (Reuters) – Russian figure skating fans reacted with dismay at reports women’s gold medal favourite Kamila Valieva failed a doping test, putting the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) title in the team event under a cloud.
Russian media reported Valieva had tested positive for a banned substance, after the ceremony to present Olympic medals to the 15-year-old and her team mates in Beijing was delayed for unexplained legal reasons.
“Girl you are amazing. Don’t worry about the scandals,” a Russian Twitter user posted under the account name “Nailu”.
“Some people just don’t know how to understand the situation correctly.
“You can handle everything. No matter what, I will support you.”
Valieva was instrumental in helping the ROC win gold in the team event, dominating the women’s singles short programme and free skate.
She also became the first woman to land quadruple jumps at an Olympics when she executed a quad Salchow and a quad toeloop in combination during the free skate.
One social media user said reports of the positive doping test were to sabotage the young skater.
“Valieva is great. They came up with doping to knock her off her path. Apparently it’s stopping someone from winning medals!” said a Russian Twitter user under the name “Cleopatra Carroll”.
Valieva trained at the Beijing practice rink on Thursday but declined to answer questions from journalists. She is scheduled to skate in the women’s singles short programme on Tuesday.
The ROC on Wednesday declined to comment on reports Valieva returned a positive test. The International Olympic Committee refused to comment on Thursday, citing a legal process.
One Russian Twitter user urged people to hold judgement until more information came to light.
“Valieva is a strong and talented skater, no doubt,” a post under the handle @Nikitkabanditka said.
“They found some kind of drug, a probe is ongoing. Wait and then speak. Maybe there is an explanation to all of this? Why accuse everyone of conspiracy?”
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Richard Pullin)