"Chilling": Olympics chief criticizes Russian skater's entourage

Kamila Valieva was highly favored to win the gold medal, but she missed out on a women's bronze in figure skating after a terrible performance that was marred by her doping scandal.

"Chilling": Olympics chief criticizes Russian skater's entourage

According to Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, it was "chilling" that Kamila Valieva Russian star Kamila Vasilieva saw her entourage receive the "tremendous chilliness" after performing a error-filled routine on the Beijing ice.

He said to reporters that he was not trying to comfort her but to create a chilling atmosphere. "You could feel the chilling atmosphere if you tried to interpret their body language.

He said, "I... observed how she was received with her closest entourage with such. It appeared to be a tremendously coldness." It was quite chilling to witness.

The 15 year-old prodigy was highly favored to win the gold medal. However, she missed out on the bronze in women's figure skating after a horrible performance hampered by the doping scandal that has reshaped her career and made her an international star.

After entering the competition with the lead, the pressure was evident as the young athlete fell to fourth Thursday.

Valieva stumbled on a triple-axel in the beginning of her routine, before hitting the ice twice more. She was still trying to find her balance. After she was done, Valieva crumpled in front of the entire world.

Valieva, visibly upset upon her exit from the ice, was met by Eteri Tutberidze (her famously hard-driving coach), whose first reaction was criticism.

"Why did it stop?" Tutberidze asked Valieva, still reeling, "Why did you stop fighting?" "After the axel you let it go."

Tutberidze wrapped her arm around Valieva, but she was clearly inconsolable.

After the revelations that Valieva had been found to have tested positive for a banned substancebefore the Games, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (and the World Anti-Doping Agency) said they would look into Tutberidze’s coaching methods.

However, her Thursday reception of the young Olympic athlete has only raised more questions about Valieva's team and sparked a wider conversation about the suitability for minors to compete in the Olympics and the rules that govern them.

Another distraught Russian skater, Alexandra Trusova only added to the sad picture.

After winning silver in the same competition on Thursday, she yelled "I hate this sport!" "I won’t go on the ice again."

Trusova later stated that her comments about not being able to skate again were "emotional," a result of missing her family members and dogs. However, she didn't promise to compete at the next month's World Championships.

Bach said, "All of that does not give me confidence in this closest entourage to Kamila, neither in regard to what has happened in the past nor in relation to the future," without naming anyone.

The IOC was not the only one to criticize the Russian Olympic Committee's coaches.

NBC Olympics host Mike Tirico stated Thursday, that Valieva's closest friends had failed her.

He said, "Some see her as the villain and others as the victim. She is, in reality, the victim of the evildoers." It is not clear if they orchestrated, prescribed, or enabled this. They failed to protect her, however, that is certain.

NBC News reached out to the Russian Olympic Committee in order to get their comments.

After leading her Russian team to the gold medal in figure skating, Valieva's Dec. 25, drug test result was only revealed last week. If she is found guilty of doping, she could lose her medal.

Monday's Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), cleared her to skate in the women’s individual competition. This is partly because she is a minor and subject to different rules than adults.

Russia is currently banned from international sporting competitions, December 2020 to the end of 2019, due to a doping scandal. Russia's athletes compete under the Russian Olympic Committee.

Bach stated Friday that the International Olympic Committee's executive committee is already considering the problem of minors competing at senior competitions. They will also be initiating discussions with various stakeholders.

According to The Associated Press, some skaters have asked for Valieva to start at 17 years old in order to make it possible for them to compete in the 2026 Milan Cortina Olympics.

Although there are clear lessons to be learned from the incident, Valieva will need to wait for four years before she can change her Olympic story. If she is allowed to try by the Russians.


 

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