BEIJING: Kamila Valieva’s lawyers say the Russian skater failed a doping test before the Olympics because of contamination from medication her grandfather was taking.
IOC member Denis Oswald says part of the 15-year-old's defense is “contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking.”
The argument was made at a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing late Sunday night. The CAS judges ruled Monday that Valieva can compete in the women’s individual event despite testing positive for a banned heart medication.
Although she can skate, the investigation will continue for months, and she may be stripped of medals later. She helped the Russian team win gold last week and is the favorite in the women’s event starting Tuesday.
Valieva and her entourage will be investigated by the Russian anti-doping agency after the Olympics. Even if the Russian investigation clears her, the ruling will likely be appealed.
Oswald, a veteran sports lawyer who investigated Sochi Olympics doping scandal cases for the IOC, says lawyers for Valieva “presented elements that brought some doubts about her guilt.”
The CAS panel cited several reasons for allowing her to skate, including her status as a minor, the potential harm to her career and the delay in informing Russia about the positive test, from a sample taken on Dec. 25.
Even if she wins another medal, the International Olympic Committee announced no medals will be handed out in events that Valieva places in until after the full investigation.