Russian figure skater at center of doping scandal falls, takes 4th place


BEIJING (AP) — In a stunning end to an Olympic saga, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva ends in fourth place in the women’s individual figure skating event, which she competed in despite failing a pre-Olympics doping test.

The 15-year-old, the center of the latest Russian doping scandal that has engulfed the Olympics, was atop the leaderboard after Tuesday’s short program, but falls and stumbles shunted her out of contention Thursday night.

The errors meant Valieva’s Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova took first. Russian Alexandra Trusova placed second and Japanese figure skater Kaori Sakamato claimed third. The trio will get medals. The IOC had said it wouldn’t hold a medal ceremony if Valieva placed in the top three.

Shcherbakova performed a near-flawless free skate to leap over the 15-year-old Valieva, the leader after the short program, who threw up her arms in resignation and disgust after her program. Russian teammate Alexandra Trusova leaped to silver with her quad-packed program while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto held onto the bronze medal.

Valieva was left sobbing in the kiss-and-cry area after her scores were read. She was heavily favored to win the gold medal but is headed home with nothing from the women’s program and still faces investigation for a positive drug test.

Moments after she walked off, workers began setting up for a flower ceremony that the International Olympic Committee said would not take place if Valieva was on the podium. Later, there would also be a medal ceremony that likewise would not have occurred until after the full investigation into Valieva’s positive test for a banned substance was completed.

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