BEIJING (Reuters) – Following are reactions to 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva finishing fourth in the women’s single event at the Olympics on Thursday after testing positive for a banned substance last year.
RUSSIAN FIGURE SKATING COACH ETERI TUTBERIDZE
“Why did you let it go? Explain it to me, why? Why did you stop fighting completely? Somewhere after the axel you let it go,” Tutberidze said when she confronted Valieva as she came off the ice.
FORMER U.S. FIGURE SKATER POLINA EDMUNDS
“Very traumatizing Olympic experience for Kamila Valieva. She should not have been allowed to compete, it’s devastating that she was put in this situation, on all levels,” she wrote on Twitter.
FORMER U.S. FIGURE SKATER ASHLEY WAGNER
“I can’t watch this. They all look devastated. This just shows that these children… are put in a position that is so wildly unhealthy and harmful to them. I’m sick to my stomach,” she wrote on Twitter.
“This is a moment where you genuinely have to say, ‘that poor kid. She should not have ever been put in this position.’
“She shouldn’t have been out on that ice, she shouldn’t have been put in a position where she became the face of a problem bigger than her.”
RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PRESIDENT STANISLAV POZDNYAKOV
“Regarding Kamila, as the father of two female athletes, I can only say one thing – poor girl!”
RUSSIAN GOLD MEDAL WINNER ANNA SHCHERBAKOVA
“Of course I was very worried about her during the skate because from the first jump it was clear that the skate was not doing great. I really understand what an athlete feels in those moments.”
JAPANESE BRONZE MEDAL WINNER KAORI SAKAMOTO
“When I was 15 I was immature, very much at a ‘junior’ level. It’s incredible that at age 15 she can compete in the Olympics and fight through this much,” said Sakamoto, 21, adding it was difficult to watch Valieva so distraught after her performance.
RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
“Kamila, we embrace you! The whole country is sending you their support right now.”
RUSSIAN ICE DANCER NIKITA KATSALAPOV
“I think she simply needs to continue doing what she is doing. This is a very strong athlete, a very strong girl. To skate under so much pressure and withstand it all, it costs a lot.
“It didn’t work out this time, she is only 15 years old … She has a bright future ahead of her. We all see that. We see how she skates. We know that she can do it.
“I personally wish her only the best, for her to endure this and go forward. Now, after these Olympic games she will only get much stronger.”
(Compiled by by Chang-Ran Kim, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, Parniyan Zemaryalai and Rohith Nair; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Bill Berkrot)