A young Russian figure skater hoping to claim two gold medals at the Beijing Winter Olympics despite a failed doping test had in fact taken a cocktail of heart drugs, it has emerged.
The news prompted American anger over the apparent special treatment being afforded 15-year-old Kamila Valieva in the face of increasingly clear evidence of doping.
Valieva became the breakout star of the Beijing Games after leading Russia to the team gold last week, landing the first quad jumps by any woman in Olympic competition.
The next day, it emerged that a doping sample she had given on Dec. 25 at the Russian national championships in St. Petersburg—and which had then sat for weeks in a Swedish laboratory—had tested positive for the banned angina drug trimetazidine.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, swayed by the delay in testing and her status as a “protected person” because of her young age, ruled that she should be allowed to carry on competing in Beijing. She is favorite to win individual freestyle gold after taking the lead in Tuesday’s short program.
Valieva’s lawyer told the CAS panel that she must have taken trimetazidine by accident, explaining that her grandfather, who takes her to train in Moscow, used it for a heart condition.
But it emerged last night that Valieva had listed two additional heart medications on an anti-doping control form before the Olympics, further muddying the waters.
The two other drugs drugs, L-carnitine and Hypoxen, are legal, although both have been implicated in possible doping by elite athletes. Hypoxen, which the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) wants banned, is designed to boost oxygen flow to the heart. L-carnitine, a supplement that also boost oxygen levels, is already banned over certain limits; it was at the heart of the doping case against track coach Alberto Salazar.
Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said the presence of all three drugs suggested something was going on. “It’s incredible and raises so many questions,” he told The Times of London. “It’s hard to believe someone as young as 15 would have the capability,…