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Women’s individual figure skating event comes to a close while wrapped up in scandal

(NEW YORK) — In an event plagued by controversy, the women’s singles figure skating competition will wrap up Thursday with the free skate — and Russian skater Kamila Valieva will be last on the ice.

The first skaters are scheduled to take the ice at 5 a.m. Eastern time.

The International Testing Agency revealed last week that Valieva, 15, of the Russian Olympic Committee, the gold medal favorite, tested positive for a banned substance in a sample taken in December during the Russian Figure Skating Championships.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Monday that Valieva could compete, despite the news, saying it was because she was a minor and the full appeal process, including the testing of her B sample, had yet to take place.

The question of what will happen to the ROC’s gold in the team event — won with Valieva leading the way — will be determined by the International Skating Union once a full appeal of the test can be conducted, according to the International Testing Agency.

Valieva leads the competition with the highest score out of Tuesday’s short program, earning 82.16. In second place is Anna Shcherbakova of the ROC, scoring 80.20, followed by Kaori Sakamoto of Japan in third place, scoring 79.84.

The gold medal will be awarded to the skater who scores the highest total score, comprised of the combined scores for the short program and the free skate.

Should Valieva be on the podium, as is expected, the IOC said it will not hold a medal ceremony.

Valieva became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump at the Winter Olympics during the team event, and she did so twice. She’s expected to pack her program in Thursday’s free skate with multiple quads as well.

Russian athletes are competing under the name “Russian Olympic Committee” due to the ban against Russia participating in the games, put in place because of a systemic doping program from the 2014 Sochi Games.

This is the second Olympics in a row that Russia has competed under the ROC name. The country is banned from participating in all international sporting events due to the doping allegations.

Russian athletes who could prove they were clean and unconnected to the cover-up were allowed to compete.

 

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