Johnny Weir calls Valieva Fall “the destruction of a young person”
Former Olympian and Olympic commentator for NBC, Johnny Weiercondemned the controversial decision that allowed beleaguered skater Kamila Valieva to compete on behalf of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the Beijing Winter Olympics after she tested positive for a banned cardiac drug intended to boost sports endurance .
When Valieva failed to medal, dropping from first to fourth place, after tripping twice during her final routine on Thursday, Weir and former 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski offered comments that express the both frustration and sympathy.
Weir described the 15-year-old skater’s emotional situation and his inability to make the top three as “the destruction of a youngster”.
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski struck the delicate balance between anger and sympathy as the Russian teenager failed to win a medal. Huffpost
—Jane Hartrick (@janehartrick)
Valieva has been embroiled in scandal for being allowed to skate in the women’s individual event despite testing positive for trimetazidine – a performance-enhancing drug on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned substances list.
The 15-year-old’s drug test result was only announced at the medal ceremony for her first team event earlier in the Games.
Still, the Court of Arbitration for Sport granted her the right to continue participating in free skating, citing that Valieva had protected status as a minor.
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir going completely silent during Kamila Valieva’s short program was a major flexu2026.no announcement from anyone on the NBC panel. A positive test is just that, whether you are underage or not. She shouldn’t have been on the ice #Olympics
— Left Coast Cane (@Left Coast Cane)
It’s a decision that caused a lot of outrage within the figure skating community.
Former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir condemn the decision to allow Russian skater Kamila Valieva to compete after a failed doping test.nnu201cThis is a slap in the face to the Olympics, to our sport and to all athletes who u2019s has never competed in the Olympics without fail.u201dpic.twitter.com/tnn8WcPzf4
— The Recount (@The Recount)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had previously announced that had Valieva placed in the top three, there would have been no medals for any of the winning competitors due to the ongoing investigation into the positive test result. Valieva for the banned substance.
Since Valieva placed fourth, the medal ceremony went as planned.
NBC commentator Terry Gannon said:
“There will be a gold, silver and a bronze in Beijing.”
To which, Weir replied:
Lipinski agreed saying, “Thank goodness for all the other medalists to have this moment.”
And Weir added, “And doing it properly.”
A natural response and what many thought. We don’t want any harm to the skater, just fair competition.
— Kate Good (@Kate Good)
Valieva’s participation in the Winter Olympics came to a grim end after her technically ambitious performance gave way to a series of mistakes.
Set to music from Ravel’s “Bolero”, his routine included three quads – an extremely difficult jumping maneuver involving four rotations in the air – and seven triples.
At first, an adoring crowd cheered her on as she made her way to the ice and performed the routine with grace and poise. But then her confidence plummeted when she tripped twice, one of which landed her on the ice.
When it was over, the emotional athlete buried her tearful face in her hands and Marlet cross the mixed zone without stopping or talking to journalists.
She finished fourth with a 141.93 in the free skate.
After the scores were announced, Gannon said of Valieva:
“And I hope there will be someone to put their arms around this young woman and guide her.”
Quite impressed with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir here, and their comments after Valieva’s skate last night. They are absolutely right.https://twitter.com/therecount/status/1493250096917536773u00a0u2026
— ElleK (@ElleK)
“On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she went through. But that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been away from this competition.
Weir blamed Russian officials for Valieva’s emotional turmoil and overshadowed controversy at the Winter Games, adding that they “should have protected her from this, stopped her from competing here.”
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski have honestly done a terrific job covering figure skating this week, following Valieva’s positive doping test. They were firm in their stance that she shouldn’t be able to compete, but sympathetic to Valieva at the same time.
Johnny and Tara were also sensitive to the difficult and unfair position that other competing athletes were placed in. They have been firm in protecting the dignity of their sport, while reminding the public that the parties involved are teenagers without much autonomy.
Yes, they agreed they did a great job of being compassionate but direct. And honestly, the nicest thing anyone could have done was not let her compete. I’m sure her own teammates were annoyed with her because she could have potentially cost them their medals.
– MelPC (@MelPC)
In response to the backlash from Valieva’s failed drug test on December 25, 2021, ROC Chairman Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a declaration:
“The results of the team tournament are not subject to review in any way, regardless of the results of the disciplinary investigation against the athlete.”
“The anti-doping rules are formulated in such a way that the review of team tournament results can only take place if the alleged anti-doping rule violation occurred during the Olympic Games.”
Lipinski, who was Valieva’s age when she won gold in 1998, said:
“I can’t imagine how difficult it was for Kamila and it angers me that the adults around her couldn’t make better decisions.”
“She is the one who now manages the consequences. And she’s just a teenager and that’s not fair. … That being said, she should not have been allowed to skate in this Olympic event.
They were excellent, from start to finish. Their comments are always accurate.
— Cu1d63u2090u2099u2096y Gu1d63u2090u2099du2098a Dire Gay (@Cu1d63u2090u2099u2096y Gu1d63u2090u2099du2098a Dire Gay)
Yes! They did an amazing job of finding that balance. And with such grace.
— ReinventionRebels (@ReinventionRebels)
Valieva’s ROC teammates Anna Shcerbakova and Alexandra Trusova stood on the podium during the medal ceremony.
Shcerbakova received gold and Trusova received silver.
Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto placed third, earning her the bronze medal.
Weir took to Twitter and posted a video after Thursday’s free skate live coverage, which he called a “weird, heartbreaking event I’ve seen in my entire life.”
“I hope this never happens again, but thank you for supporting the skaters. Thank you,” Weir said.