The heartbreaking moment Kamila Valieva came off the ice in 12 photos
Michelle Shen, USA TODAY
·1 min read
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Russian figure skater (born 2006)
With a disastrous performance in her long program Thursday night, Russian teenager and heavy gold-medal favorite Kamila Valieva dropped out of first place and all the way out of medal contention, finishing fourth.
Valieva, 15, made mistakes on her first four jumps, then fell on an attempted quad toe loop moments later. She ended up finishing fourth in the long program.
Valieva choked back tears after the music to her program, "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel, stopped playing. She then sat stunned in the kiss-and-cry as her score was announced, remaining there for several minutes.
It was a mind-boggling finale to a weeklong saga that had cast a pall over the Olympic figure skating competition.
News broke late last week that Valieva had tested positive for a banned heart medication, then provisionally suspended by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, then reinstated by a disciplinary committee upon appeal.
Valieva's fourth-place finish effectively wiped away a decision announced by the International Olympic Committee days earlier, that it would not hold a medal ceremony or award presentation after Thursday's competition if she finished inside the top three. There was a fear that she would be awarded a medal that would later need to be returned, if her doping case was upheld on appeal.