BEIJING (Reuters) – The speculation regarding Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s positive doping test must be tough on the 15-year-old but the Russian Olympic Committee’s top priority is her welfare, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.
Valieva, who helped win the team event at the Beijing Games only to return a positive test in a Dec. 25 sample that was reported on Feb. 8, shrugged off the doping scandal on Tuesday to dominate the women’s singles short programme.
The Russian is ahead in the hunt for a gold medal that is unlikely to be awarded at the Beijing Games.
She had been allowed to compete following a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“She is in the centre of a lot of speculation. It must be very tough for her,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “We are of course in touch with the team. Her welfare is the team’s first priority and obviously we are very careful of that.”
Valieva’s doping case has not yet concluded with the ‘B’ sample having yet to be tested, and should she finish in the top three after Thursday’s free skate no medals will be awarded.
“There will be an asterisk against the results (on Thursday) because they will be preliminary pending further investigation,” Adams said.
“We would prefer not to have that going on. My heart goes out to the athletes but the IOC has to follow the rules,” Adams said.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Valieva had three drugs that could be used to treat heart conditions in the sample she provided last December.
In addition to testing positive for the banned angina drug trimetazidine, the report said the Stockholm laboratory that analysed her sample also found evidence of two other heart medications that are not on the banned list.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Additional reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)