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'Permanent scar on our sport': Tara Lipinski reacts to Kamila Valieva Olympics ruling

A court ruled Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva may compete in the women's event at the Beijing Olympics despite a failed drug test in December.

Reaction from the Olympics and social media after Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was cleared to compete in Beijing despite failing a drug test in December. The ruling was made Monday by a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel sitting at the Olympics. The 15-year-old Valieva is the favorite in the women’s individual event that begins Tuesday and already captured gold when the Russian athletes competing as ROC, short for Russian Olympic Committee, won the team event last week.

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“The panel considered that preventing the athlete to compete at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm in the circumstances ... We would not have this case and I would not be here if these anti-doping test procedures would have been completed in one week or 10 days as it is generally the case for example at the Olympic Games.” — Court of Arbitration for Sport Director General Matthieu Reeb.

Credit: AP
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, trains at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

“I strongly disagree with this decision. At the end of the day, there was a positive test and there is no question in my mind that she should not be allowed to compete. Regardless of age or timing of the test (and) results. I believe this will leave a permanent scar on our sport.” — 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, now a figure skating analyst for NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Games.

"The Olympics has to be clean or it's not fair. If you won't pay fair, then you can't play. It doesn't matter how old you are or the timing on when the test results come in. You have to be responsible for what happens to your body and to compete at the Olympics. This is a slap in the face to the Olympic Games, to our sport and to every athlete that has ever competed at the Olympics -- clean. It's hard to make it to the Olympics and anybody that will try to find the easy way out is in the wrong and should not be able to compete at the Olympics.  — Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir, also a figure skating analyst for NBC.

“Kamila, we are with you!” — Billboards posted around Moscow on the eve of the ruling.

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“We are disappointed by the message this decision sends. It is the collective responsibility of the entire Olympic community to protect the integrity of sport and to hold our athletes, coaches and all involved to the highest standards. Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately, today that right is being denied. This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia. We know this case is not yet closed and we call on everyone in the Olympic movement to continue to fight for clean sport on behalf of athletes around the world." — U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland.

“The basic issue arises of what kind of high-performance sport we actually want to have. This current case strengthens our conviction that young athletes should be given time. Humane high-performance sports cannot make big demands too early.” — German Olympic Sports Confederation president Thomas Weikert.

"This girl, one of the brightest phenomena in figure skating in recent times, has faced a fairly serious psychological ordeal, pressure, a burden ... She did not know until the last minute what was going on. We are pleased with this CAS decision, grateful for the fair ruling in which common sense has prevailed.” — Russian Figure Skating Federation CEO Alexander Kogan to the Tass state news agency.

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“Go Kamila!” — Russian ice dancer and fellow team event gold medal winner Nikita Katsalapov.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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