Tue, 03 Oct 2023

Russian ice queen issues message to Valieva

18 Feb 2022, 04:13 GMT+10

The former world champion admitted she was lost for words after watching the drama at the Winter Olympics

Figure skating great Elizaveta Tuktamysheva has spoken of her heartbreak for Kamila Valieva after watching the pre-Winter Olympics favorite finish fourth in the individual competition, ending a campaign hindered by a high-profile doping case finish with a performance the 15-year-old was clearly unhappy with at the Beijing Games.

2015 world champion Tuktamysheva has a strong relationship with Valieva, posing for playful photos when the pair have faced each other competitively and telling the prodigy to "hold on" as controversy escalated around her at the Olympics.

The first reserve for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) squad, Tuktamysheva knows more than most about the extreme pressures Valieva faced, having earned her world singles title as a teenager in Shanghai and become European champion - as Valieva did last month - in the same year.

Tuktamysheva watched with concern as news broke after Valieva had secured gold with the ROC in the team competition that the European champion had tested positive for a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Authority.

The positive result, which was from a test taken at the Russian championships on December 25, had taken more than six weeks to be revealed and put Valieva in limbo before a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing allowed her to continue to compete.

Despite not being able to mount a proper legal defense in the ongoing case about the detection of a non-performance enhancing heart drug, Valieva has been at the center of fierce criticism of Russia as a consequence of the saga.

"I don't even know what to say," confessed Tuktamysheva to her Instagram following of more than 335,000.

"Heart breaks for Kamila. Probably the most important thing now, at such a moment, is to be close to loved ones and let go of the situation. Strength to you."

Valieva was in tears as she left the ice after a first experience at the Games that has clearly taken its toll on an athlete deemed a 'protected person' under WADA rules because she is a minor.

'Empress' Tuktamysheva also offered her congratulations to the two Russians who won medals: gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, who secured second and became the first female to land five quads at an Olympics.

The 24-year-old called third-placed Kaori Sakamoto "great" and added: "I'm very happy for you - you did a great job.

"One of the important and unpredictable stages is over. Now it's time to exhale."

Following the conclusion of the figure skating competitions, the Games continue until February 20 2022.


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