The Russian Anti-Doping Agency has found that the figure-skating star Kamila Valieva bore “no fault or negligence” for her doping violation before the Beijing Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement that sharply rebuked Russia’s handling of the case involving one of the country’s top athletes.
The Russian agency said Valieva would not be penalized beyond losing her results in the Russian national championships in 2021, when she tested positive.
The ruling drew a sharp rebuke from WADA, which said it was “concerned by the finding” and would “not hesitate to exercise its right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as appropriate.” WADA had recommended a four-year ban.
Valieva, then 15, came into the Beijing Games last year as a heavy favorite because of her sensational quadruple-jumping ability. She led Russia to a gold medal in the team event in the first days of the games, becoming the first woman to land two quads in an Olympic free skate.
But the next day, it was revealed that she tested positive a few weeks before the Olympics for a banned heart medication that could increase endurance. Travis T. Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, called it “total gross incompetence” that it took so long for the result to be reported.
The positive test put in limbo the team gold medal that Valieva helped earn. The American team placed second in that event and would be in line for gold should the medal eventually be stripped from Russia.
Valieva was allowed to continue skating at the Olympics while appeals were pending, but after leading the women’s event she bungled her free skate and finished fourth. After she left the ice in tears, her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, met her frostily, saying: “Why did you stop fighting? Explain it to me, why?” The gold medal winner was another Russian, Anna Shcherbakova.