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IOC and figure skaters stay silent on reports of Russian star Kamila Valieva's doping

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BEIJING — As reports multiplied Thursday that Russian figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva had tested positive for a banned substance, the International Olympic Committee and Russian figure skaters simultaneously evaded questions about the topic — as Valieva practiced at a nearby venue.

At the main press center in Beijing, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said that he was “not gonna comment” on “speculation.”

As Adams was speaking, across the city, Russian and foreign journalists crowded around Russian figure skater Mark Kondratiuk, who won gold with Valieva in the team event.

“No comment,” Kondratiuk said repeatedly, in both Russian and English, when asked various questions related to the doping case.

Russian figure skater Mark Kondratiuk answers questions from the media at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Feb. 10, 2022. (Yahoo Sports)
Russian figure skater Mark Kondratiuk answers questions from the media at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Feb. 10, 2022. (Yahoo Sports)

He answered questions about the free skate he’d just completed in men’s singles, but not about doping or the team event medals, which haven’t yet been awarded.

After one of the no comments, he pulled down his mask, took a small sip of water, and smiled.

Earlier in the morning, Russian teammate Andrei Mozalev walked through the mixed zone, an interview area, and did not stop for questions. Journalists were told he was not feeling well.

Meanwhile, at the practice rink, which is separate from the competition rink at Capital Indoor Stadium, Valieva, 15, trained for the women’s singles competition next week. She is the gold medal favorite — if she is allowed to compete. After a roughly 30-minute session, neither she nor teammates took questions from reporters.

The IOC has called the case a “legal issue,” reportedly because Valieva is a minor and therefore a “Protected Person” under the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code allows for lesser penalties for minors who violate the code.

Meanwhile, as Adams evaded further questions, other journalists gathered outside the Russian Olympic Committee’s office at the main press center. The door was closed.

Russia's Kamila Valieva reacts during the free skating team event at the Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 07, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Russia's Kamila Valieva reacts during the free skating team event at the Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 07, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)