'she is a child'
Former Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon came to 2022 Olympian Kamila Valieva's defense on Friday, after it was revealed the Russian athlete tested positive for a banned substance weeks before the Beijing Games began.
"This entire situation is heartbreaking," Rippon wrote on Twitter. "This young girl is just 15. She's a minor. The adults around her have completely failed her. They've put her in this awful situation and should be punished."
"I blame those in charge," he continued.
On Friday, the International Testing Agency confirmed Valieva had tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug commonly used to treat angina that can also improve endurance, reports CNN and The New York Times. A Swedish lab apparently found the banned substance in a sample taken from Valieva on Dec. 25, but — for reasons currently unknown — only reported the positive result on Feb. 8. The Russian anti-doping agency claims Valieva tested negative before and after the Dec. 25 sample.
"A positive test is a positive test," Rippon continued on Friday. "Testing negative now doesn't negate the fact that there were performance enhancing drugs involved in the process. It's a f--king shame. It didn't need to come to this. SHE IS A CHILD."
"The ROC has miserably failed its athletes and embarrassed themselves on the world stage YET AGAIN. My heart breaks for the Russian athletes competing in Beijing who will have everything they do at this Olympics questioned."
The fate of Valieva's team gold and her continued eligibility in the Games is not yet clear.