Russian figure skater drug ban: It was my grandfather’s strawberry dessert fault

Figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned substance during a 2021 Russian national competition, and her defense attributed it to potential cross-contamination in her grandfather’s kitchen.

Kamila Valieva, the renowned Russian figure skater, faced a bitter blow as she was handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in early February 2024 after testing positive for TMZ (trimetazidine) during a 2021 competition.


Despite fervent defenses put forth by her legal team, who argued that the prohibited substance entered her system inadvertently through cross-contamination from her grandfather’s strawberry dessert, prepared on the same chopping board used for his heart medication, the CAS panel found the evidence insufficient to fully support her case. While Kamila herself maintained her innocence and was lauded by the panel as an honest and credible witness, the absence of concrete evidence beyond her grandfather’s testimony left doubts lingering.


As per NBC News, the CAS expressed reservations, stating, “There are too many shortcomings in the evidence, and too many unanswered questions, for the panel to decide that her account is more likely than not.” Despite repeated attempts, Kamila’s legal representatives remained unavailable for comment on the matter when approached by E! News.


The timing of the positive test result proved particularly unfortunate for Kamila, as it emerged midway through the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. By that point, she had already secured a gold medal with Russia’s competition team. However, the repercussions were severe, with the team being subsequently disqualified and their bronze medal reallocated, with Kamila’s scores discounted from the overall tally.


As a 15-year-old at the time, Kamila was permitted to continue competing in the individual event, yet under the glaring spotlight of her positive drug test, her performance fell short of expectations. Despite her talent and prowess on the ice, she failed to clinch a medal, ultimately settling for fourth place amidst the turmoil surrounding her doping controversy.

Written by Telha

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