2022 Olympics: Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva finishes 4th amid doping scandal
A medal ceremony will be held for the Beijing Olympics' free skate competition after Russia's Kamila Valieva shockingly didn't place in the top three amid her doping scandal.
Valieva competed in the individual figure skating competition on Thursday after controversially being cleared to do so despite a positive doping test. But after making a number of mistakes, including by falling onto the ice, Valieva placed fourth, even though she had been the favorite to win gold going into the event. Russia's Anna Shcherbakova instead won gold, while Russia's Alexandra Trusova won silver and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto won bronze.
The International Olympic Committee had said no medal ceremony would be held for the event if Valieva placed in the top three, but after she unexpectedly came in fourth, it was able to go forward. Valieva was seen breaking down in tears after finishing, in a scene that Olympics commentators on NBC's live stream described as "heartbreaking" and difficult to watch.
"On a human level, I can't imagine going through what she has been through," one commentator said. "But that doesn't change the fact that she should have been nowhere near this competition."
In a controversial decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport had ruled Valieva could continue competing at the Olympics despite a positive drug test, which was returned on Feb. 8 by a Swedish lab after being taken on Dec. 25. An investigation remains ongoing. The IOC previously said there also wouldn't be a medal ceremony held for the team figure skating event, where Russia won gold, until the situation is resolved "in the interest of fairness to all athletes."