IOC President Bach is upset by Valeeva’s collapse, and attacks his entourage

Beijing 2022 Olympics – Figure Skating – Women’s Individual Skating – Freestyle Skating – Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China – February 17, 2022. Kamila Valeeva of the Russian Olympic Committee interacted with coaches Daniel Glickingoz and Eteri Tutberidze after her performance. Photograph: Evgenia Novozinina/Reuters

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  • Bach says it was “scary” to see Valleeva crumble under the pressure
  • The IOC did not want her to compete
  • Bach says the IOC needs government help
  • “Limited Means” of Addressing People’s Issues – Bach

BEIJING (Reuters) – Olympics president Thomas Bach said on Friday watching young Russian figure skater Camila Valeeva collapse under pressure at the Beijing Olympics, where a doping scandal has continued for 15 years. Old footnote.

The saga opened a debate about the suitability of the Olympic environment for the palace, but IOC President Bach said the IOC had limited means to act.

Valeeva, who was leading the women’s figure skating event after the short program, cracked in the free skating Thursday night, stumbling to finish fourth as her compatriot Anna Shcherbakova skated for gold.

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“I must say that I was very upset yesterday when I watched the competition on TV,” Bach told a news conference.

“How high is the pressure on her?”

Valeeva failed a doping test at her national championships last December, but the result was only revealed on February 8, the day after Valeeva had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the team event.

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Russia’s anti-doping agency has lifted a temporary ban on it and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday rejected an appeal by the International Olympic Committee, the International Ski Federation (ISU) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reinstate the suspension – thus allowing her to compete in the singles event on Tuesday and Thursday.

Chilling to see

“To see her struggle on the ice, to see her, how she’s trying to make herself up again, how she’s then trying to finish her program and you can see in every movement, in body language, you can feel this is massive, tremendous mental pressure and maybe she’d rather just let go of the ice and try to let go. That’s the story behind it,” Bach said.

Valeeva left ice tears hiding behind her hands and sobbing in the “kiss and cry” area as her coach Eteri Tutberidi confronted her.

“Why did you let her go? Explain to me, why? Why did you stop fighting completely? Somewhere after the axis I let him go,” said Tutberidze.

This reaction confused Bach, who said that it was “very important” to consider Valeeva’s entourage.

“When I then saw how she was greeted by her close entourage…it was scary to see,” Bach said.

“Instead of giving her comfort, instead of trying to help her, you can feel this scary atmosphere, this distance and if you interpret their body language, it gets worse because this was some kind of disapproval.

“All this does not give me much confidence in Camilla’s closest entourage.”

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Bach admitted that the IOC, while addressing this issue, could do little to control the group of people around any athlete.

“We see that we have very limited means to address it,” he said. “We are not police, we cannot interrogate and we have formal prosecutions; our punishments are very limited.

“Ultimately, it is a question where we need the support of governments.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it had launched an investigation into Valeeva’s entourage, which also includes, among other things, figure skating team doctor Filip Shvitsky, who has been suspended in the past for doping athletes.

Bach also said the IOC would also look into the rules that apply to minors in competitions where Valeeva was also released to compete due to the mitigating factor that she was 15 years old.

“In fair competition, the same rules must apply to everyone,” Bach said.

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Written by Julian Britto; Editing by Ossian Shine and Himani Sarkar

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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