Cameras Catch Controversial Russian Skating Coach Shouting At 15-Year-Old After Falling Twice And Losing Medal

Emily Brown

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Cameras Catch Controversial Russian Skating Coach Shouting At 15-Year-Old After Falling Twice And Losing Medal

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Russian skating coach Eteri Tutberidze was caught on camera criticising 15-year-old Kamila Valieva after she failed to secure a place in the top three at the Beijing Olympics.

Valieva took to the ice in the women's figure skating event on Thursday, February 17, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined that no provisional suspension should be imposed for a positive drug test result.

After having previously helped the Russian team win gold, Valieva was in first place going into the final round of the singles event but her position dropped when she fell twice during her free skate.

She ultimately finished in fourth place, after which Tutberidze made clear her frustration as she asked Valieva, 'Why did you let it go? Why did you stop completely? Somewhere after the axel, you let it go.'

The 15-year-old was seen crying as she spoke to her coach, whose behaviour prompted concerns from Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

He described the response to Valieva's performance as 'chilling', Sky News reports, saying, 'When I afterwards saw how she was received by her closest entourage, with such, what appeared to be a tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this. Rather than giving her comfort, rather than to try to help her, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance.'

Kamila Valieva (Alamy)
Kamila Valieva (Alamy)

'And if you were interpreting the body language of them, it got even worse because this was even some kind of dismissive gestures. All of this does not give me much confidence in Kamila's closest entourage,' he added.

The women's singles event came after a 'very difficult' few days for Valieva, who told Russian broadcaster Channel One she was 'very tired emotionally' after the result of her drug test was revealed.

The skater has alleged her positive test came following a mix-up of medication with her grandfather, and Denis Oswald, the IOC’s disciplinary committee chair, said that an 'entourage' investigation would take place as he expressed belief the '15-year-old would not do something wrong alone’.

In a statement to Reuters, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it would ask its independent Intelligence and Investigations Department to investigate the coaches, doctors and other adults surrounding the athlete.

Bach said the pressure faced by Valieva as she went into the singles event was 'beyond [his] imagination' in a press conference after the event.

He added, 'To see her there struggling on the ice, seeing her how she tried to compose herself again, how then she tries to finish her program, and you could in every movement, in the body language, you could feel that this is immense mental stress and that, maybe, she would have preferred just to leave the ice and try to leave this story behind her.'

Valieva came in fourth place behind her Russian Olympic Committee teammate Anna Shcherbakova, who won gold, ROC's Alexandra Trusova with silver and Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto with bronze.

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Topics: News, Olympics, Russia, Sport, World News

Emily Brown
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