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Kamila Valieva, Russian skaters banned from world championships after Ukraine invasion

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The Russian figure skating trio of Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova will not be allowed to compete at this month's world championships in Montpellier, France.

The International Skating Union (ISU) announced on Tuesday that competitors from Russia and Belarus are banned from international events until further notice after the invasion of Ukraine. It follows bans from other international sports governing bodies in recent days on advice from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Russian figure skaters were already facing tight scrutiny and international backlash after the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Valieva, a 15-year-old sensation who had been on the senior circuit for only a few months, tested positive for a banned heart medication on Dec. 25 that came to light after the team competition. Russia placed first, the United States earned silver and Japan held the bronze. Those medals have yet to be awarded and might change after an investigation of Valieva's drug test.

Valieva, the Olympic favorite, was allowed to compete after an appeal and came into the free skate in first place, but fell to fourth with uncharacteristic falls on the last skate of the night. Shcherbakova, 17, instead won gold and Trusova placed second in one of the most jarring medal moments in recent Olympic memory. The program is now under an investigation with questions about doping —which Russia was already found to have done at the Sochi Games — and the pressures and lack of tact by coaches.

The ISU Council covers figure skating, speed skating and short track. It said in a statement it would continue to monitor the situation "and its impact on the ISU activity and will take additional steps if and when required." Russia's Alexander Lakernik is vice president and told the New York Times he could not comment on the ban because of his position on the board.

Russia takes immense pride in its figure skating prowess and the country is a constant medal contender that often sweeps the podium. Five of the 12 figure skating medals awarded in Beijing went to the Russians. The ban also applies to three sets of Russian skating teams that placed in their individual events. Ice dancing duo Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov earned silver. In the pairs event, Evgenia Taraova and Vladimir Morozov won silver, and Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov earned bronze.

The world championships are scheduled to begin March 21. Olympic medalists often skip the event since it is so close to the Games. But after the drama surrounding the Olympics, the event was marked on calendars to see if Valieva would compete and return to the top of the podium with an investigation still underwriting it all.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21, 2022: Russian figure skaters Kamila Valieva, Alexandra Trusova, Anna Sherbakova, Alexandra Boikova, Dmitry Kozlovsky (L-R front), Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, Russia's Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin and Russian Presidential Aide Igor Levitin (L-R background) attend a ceremony to honor Russian athletes who competed as Team ROC at the Beijing 2022 Olympics, at VTB Arena. Team ROC won 32 medals at the Winter Olympic Games and ranks ninth in the medal standings. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21, 2022: Russian figure skaters Kamila Valieva, Alexandra Trusova, Anna Sherbakova, Alexandra Boikova, Dmitry Kozlovsky (L-R front), Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, Russia's Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin and Russian Presidential Aide Igor Levitin (L-R background) attend a ceremony to honor Russian athletes who competed as Team ROC at the Beijing 2022 Olympics, at VTB Arena. Team ROC won 32 medals at the Winter Olympic Games and ranks ninth in the medal standings. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)