The two excoriated the Russian officials around her while offering a glimmer of sympathy for the 15-year-old, whose numerous mistakes dropped her from first place to fourth in the final standings.
Valieva was cleared to compete despite testing positive for a banned heart medication said to boost endurance. She also disclosed taking two other heart drugs that aren’t specifically banned.
As they did in the short program, the broadcasters mostly kept their distance during her routine, letting Valieva’s meltdown speak for itself. They sharpened their analysis while Valieva awaited her fate from the judges.
“I can’t imagine how tough this has been on Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her couldn’t make better decisions,” said Lipinski, who won gold at age 15 in 1998. “She’s the one now dealing with the consequences. And she’s just a teen and that’s not fair. ... That being said, she should not have been allowed to skate in this Olympic event.”
Weir called it “the destruction of a young person.”
As Valieva cried, Weir offered: “On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she has been through. But that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been nowhere near this competition.”
The medal ceremony was to be put on hold for the women’s figure skating event if Valieva finished in the top three, but that is moot now. “Thank God,” Weir said.
The Russian athlete was inconsolable. “Again, I blame the adults around her,” Lipinski said.
Weir commended “all of the athletes who competed here cleanly, but it is heartbreaking.”
The former Olympian said people around her “should have shielded her from this, kept her from competing here.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.