Skater in Doping Scandal Has Disastrous Performance

Russia's Kamila Valieva finishes in 4th in a stunner
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 9:35 AM CST
Olympic Stunner: Russian Skater Finishes 4th
Kamila Valieva falls in the women's free skate program Thursday.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(Newser) – It might be the biggest surprise of the Beijing Olympics: Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian skater embroiled in a doping controversy, had a disastrous free skate on Thursday and finished out of medal contention in fourth place. "Stunning" is the word used by Christine Brennan of USA Today, and the sentiment is echoed elsewhere. Valieva fell or at least slipped four times during her routine and left the ice weeping, reports the New York Times. "It turns out there's only so much pressure a 15-year-old can endure on the world stage," writes Julia Kreuz at Yahoo Sports.

Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold, and another Russian, Alexandra Trusova, took the silver. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto finished third. Valieva had been the heavy favorite to win, given that she's "considered by many to be one of the greatest figure skaters in recent history," notes Juliet Macur of the Times. Had she finished in the top three, no medal ceremony would have taken place because of the ongoing controversy of her failed drug test. The top American finisher was Alysa Liu, 16, in seventh place, reports the Washington Post. (Read more Kamila Valieva stories.)

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