MoreSport ENSport.Slajder

IOC president criticizes entourage of Russian skater Valieva

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has spoken of his distress watching Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva compete and condemned her entourage for their actions.

Beijing, 18 February 2022 (dpa/MIA) — International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has spoken of his distress watching Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva compete and condemned her entourage for their actions.

Valieva, allowed to continue competing at the Beijing Games despite a positive doping test from December, finished fourth in the women’s individual event on Thursday after two costly falls.

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva falls while competing in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

The “very, very sad story” of Valieva had upset Bach, he told a media conference on Friday.

“I must say I was very, very disturbed yesterday when I watched the competition on television,” he said.

“I saw how high the pressure was on her. The pressure was beyond my imagination.”

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva competes in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

He said viewers could feel the “immense, immense mental stress” Valieva was under as she struggled to perform at her best.

Bach condemned “the tremendous coldness” Valieva received from her entourage after the competition.

“Rather than help her, give her comfort, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance.”

What he saw did “not give me much confidence in the closest entourage of Kamila,” Bach said.

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva competes in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

Given Valieva’s young age, which gives her additional protection as a minor, the attention is also on her entourage, led by coach Eteri Tutberidze.

Bach said it was “extremely important” that an investigation was launched on the entourage.

“Doping very rarely happens alone by the athletes,” he said.

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva is consoled by her coaches Eteri Tutberidze and Daniil Gleichengauz after competing in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

“We are dealing with a minor, with a 15-year-old girl, who obviously has a drug in her body that should not be in her body. The people who have administered this drug, they are the ones that are guilty.”

Bach dismissed suggestions that the IOC’s actions had contributed to the pressure on Valieva.

“You do not solve a problem by ignoring it.”

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva reacts after competing in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

He said there were issues that needed to be addressed in the future, including minors taking part in senior competitions.

“For me personally, the anti-doping rules are there to ensure a fair competition. This leads me to the conclusion that in a fair competition the same rules have to apply to everybody.”

Bach said he was “very concerned” for Valieva’s wellbeing and the IOC had offered her welfare support.

17 February 2022, China, Beijing: Russian Olympic Committee’s Kamila Valieva reacts after competing in the Women’s Single Skating Free Skating competition at Capital Indoor Stadium during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa

“I can only wish for her that she has the support then of her family, the support of her friends, and the support of her people who will help her over this extremely difficult situation,” he said.

“We can only hope for her that this is addressed in the right way and that this is not a traumatic experience for such a young woman,” Bach added.

Back to top button
Close