Russian Star Varieva practice despite reports of positive drug tests

Beijing — 15-year-old Russian superstar Camilla Barriera was expected to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in female figure skating.

The Russian newspaper RBC reported that before the Beijing convention, Varieva was positive about the banned heart drug.

This sample is reportedly obtained before Varieva won the European Championship in Estonia last month. This performance cemented Russia’s elite female figure skater’s position as the leader of the “quad team”.

It is unclear whether Russia is appealing the results or is fighting. Her actual appearance means that the federation has not accepted any discoveries that would exclude her.

“She hasn’t been suspended,” said Olga Ermolina, a spokeswoman for the Russian Figure Skating Federation, without giving details.

Valieva ran the program and skated with his teammate Alexandra Trusova at the driving range with a pointer from Eteri Tutberidze. Varieva smiled at one of her coaches near the end of the session, which lasted about 30 minutes, and none of the skaters were asked by the reporter.

When Barriera left the press conference area, she made a fist gesture in the air. She seems to have answered an inaudible question from a journalist speaking to her in Russian.

A positive test could sacrifice a gold medal from the team’s competition to Russia and threaten Varieva’s chances to win the individual competition starting Tuesday. She is my favorite.

Camilla Varieva Training
Camilla Varieva will be training at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 10, 2022. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press Photo)

Russia is typically tight during the men’s free skating, where Mark Kondratiuk simply said “no comment” to a series of questions about whether Mark Kondratiuk thought the team and Balieva case would be resolved. Team was even more vigilant. 18-year-old Kondrachuk will run both men’s programs in a team tournament and lose a gold medal.

According to the European Union’s Pharmaceutical Department, the detected drug, trimetazidine, is a metabolite that helps prevent angina attacks and treat dizziness. It is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it can help endurance and increase blood flow efficiency.

The most famous case of trimetazidine in sports doping was related to Chinese star swimmer Sun Yang. The three Olympic champions issued a three-month ban in 2014. Russian Bobredder Nadezhda Sergeeva tested positive for trimetazidine at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. She was disqualified from two women’s bobsleigh events and was subject to an eight-month ban.

It is unclear whether Varieva has applied for an exemption from therapeutic use or has a history of heart disease.

Russian athletes are competing as the “Russian Olympic Committee” (ROC) after the country was banned at the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to a large state-sponsored doping program.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which oversees the Olympic drug testing program, and the Swiss-based International Testing Agency (ITA) have declined to comment on the case.

On Thursday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said it was not appropriate to talk about the proceedings and “all sorts of speculation I’ve seen overnight.”

The case is more complicated because minors are protected from being identified within the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“Obviously everyone is worried and awaiting a decision,” said Mori Si Kuvitera Shibiri of Georgia, who is training with Barriera in Moscow, in contact with her, but in the case. He added that he didn’t know the details. She said, “Her condition is good and everything seems to be going well.”

The uncertainty in the case of Varieva contrasts with the swift action taken by ITA against Iranian skiers at the Beijing Games. Hossein Saveh Shemshaki provided a sample on Monday, tested positive for anabolic steroid hormones, and was tentatively discontinued at the end of Wednesday.

The International Skating Union (ISU) can also take out provisionally banned athletes if the test is positive at the event or with samples taken before January 27, when ITA took over the Olympic anti-doping program. .. The ISU has not commented either.

When the medal award ceremony was postponed indefinitely, it was first shown that there was a problem with the results of the three-day team tournament that ended with Russia winning gold, US silver and Japanese bronze on Monday. ..

Adams said Wednesday that “legal talks” were needed between Olympic officials and the ISU, admitting that “the athletes who won the medals are involved.”

If the Russian team is disqualified, the US team will be promoted to the gold medal for the first time at the event. Japan will be awarded silver and Canada in 4th place will be awarded bronze.

If any player or team is disqualified or the results are invalidated, an appeal is likely to be filed and the presentation of medals may be further delayed. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has set up an office in Beijing to hear urgent cases.

Reporters asked the Kremlin late Wednesday about potential doping issues.

“For understanding, let’s wait for an explanation from our sports people or the IOC,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Valieva was the star while the Russian team dominated the competition. In addition to winning her short program and free skating, she became the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympic Games.

Many of the skaters who participated in the team tournament, such as American star Nathan Chen and Russian Mark Kondrachuk, will leave Beijing shortly after their appearance on Thursday. They will miss the medal ceremony that will take place later.

“Everyone is doing absolutely everything to get the situation resolved as soon as possible,” Adams said, but warned that “as you know, legal issues can be protracted.”

Traditional doping is not common in figure skating, as additional muscle mass is generally negative. However, many skaters have been caught for many years trying to control their weight with diuretics that are banned due to their ability to hide the use of steroids, and other drugs that may give them a slight advantage. I’ve been.

Russian skaters in particular have a history of positive results dating back to 2000, when the decorated pair of skaters Elena Berezhnaya was stripped of the gold medal from the European Championship for a positive test for pseudoephedrine.

Three years ago, pair skater Alexandra Kochebaya was banned for two years after a positive test for torsemide, which he claims to have used for foot injuries. Later that year, ice dancer Anastasia Shakun stopped taking furosemide for a year after the pharmacy claimed that it suggested swelling of the eyes.

In July 2020, Maria Sotskova was banned for a decade just months after announcing her retirement for forging a medical certificate to explain a doping breach. Sotsukoba finished eighth at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Dave Skletta and Graham Dunbar

Associated Press


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