First, the ITA stresses that Ms. Kamila Valieva, a member of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) delegation in Beijing, is a minor and therefore a ‘Protected Person’ under the World Anti-Doping Code – this status applies to persons under the age of 16. As such, the parties are not subject to mandatory public disclosure of her name or any case she might be involved in, instead any public disclosure must be proportionate to the facts and circumstances of the case. Seeing that some in the media did not grant her the same protection and have reported widely on the basis of unofficial information following the postponement of the medal ceremony of the figure skating Team Event at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the ITA acknowledges the necessity for official information due to heightened public interest.
To state the facts chronologically, a sample from the athlete was collected under the testing authority and results management authority of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) on 25 December 2021 during the 2022 Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The WADA-accredited laboratory of Stockholm, Sweden, reported that the sample had returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the non-specified prohibited substance trimetazidine (classified as S4. Hormone and Metabolic Modulators according to the Prohibited List of the World Anti-Doping Code) on 8 February 2022 at approximately 00.02 am (China Standard Time – CST). Following this, the athlete was provisionally suspended by RUSADA with immediate effect.
Pursuant to Article 15 of the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the decision of RUSADA imposing a provisional suspension automatically prohibited the athlete from participation in all sports during the provisional suspension, including the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
As the sample was collected by RUSADA ahead of the Winter Games, this case is not under the jurisdiction of the IOC and thus not directly managed by the ITA. In line with the IOC Anti-Doping Rules, the ITA immediately informed the athlete that the provisional suspension imposed on her by RUSADA is binding upon the IOC and the athlete is prevented from competing, training, coaching, or participating in any activity, during the Olympic Winter Games.
Due to the fact that this is not a case under the authority of the IOC and taking into account her abovementioned status as Protected Person, the ITA abstained from publicly disclosing the case following the notification in order to protect the athlete’s identity as a minor and to ensure that all necessary measures for her physical and mental safeguarding could be implemented. All the while all due legal processes were initiated.
The athlete challenged the imposition of the provisional suspension before the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee on 9 February 2022 and a hearing took place on the same day. On the evening of 9 February 2022, the RUSADA Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee decided to lift the athlete’s provisional suspension, thus allowing her to continue her participation in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The reasoned decision, including the grounds for which the provisional suspension was lifted, will be issued shortly to all concerned parties.
Under the World Anti-Doping Code, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Skating Union (ISU), RUSADA and the IOC have a right to appeal the decision to lift the provisional suspension before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The IOC will exercise its right to appeal and not to wait for the reasoned decision by RUSADA, because a decision is needed before the next competition the athlete is due to take part in (Women Single Skating, 15 February 2022).
Following the delegation of the IOC’s anti-doping program in relation to the Olympic Games to the ITA, the ITA will lead the appeal before CAS on behalf of the IOC.
The proceedings on the merits of the apparent anti-doping rule violation, including the athlete’s right to request the analysis of the B-sample, will be pursued by RUSADA in due course.
The decision on the results of the ROC team in the Team Figure Skating event can be taken by the ISU only after a final decision on the full merits of the case has been taken. The procedure, which is initiated currently, can only address the provisional suspension.
Given that the legal process for this case is not finally concluded, the ITA will not provide any additional comments. Any further information on the case will be issued in form of a public statement.