Kamila Valieva drew upon themes from her Beijing scandal in two new performances
Valieva performed for Russian fans in the nation’s capital. © RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Vilf
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva revisited her Beijing Olympic doping scandal as the teenage star unveiled two new routines in Moscow at the weekend.
Appearing at the Russian national team test skates on Sunday, Valieva used her free skate routine to convey her feelings about the ordeal which overshadowed her appearance at the Winter Olympics back in February.
Clad all in black, the 16-year-old began her performance to the sound of extracts from news reports discussing the doping scandal.
The performance culminated with Valieva using part of her outfit to cover her face – repeating the scenes from Beijing when the teenager had been forced to shield herself from the intense media glare after it emerged she had tested positive for a banned heart drug in a sample taken six weeks before the Games began.
“For me, the most important thing was to convey my story through the program. It seems to me that it succeeded,” said Valieva.
The skater said her coaching team had come up with the theme, including the references to the scandal which erupted in Beijing.
“Eteri Tutberidze and Daniil Gleikhengauz suggested this idea, asked me if I would like to touch on this topic again,” said Valieva.
“It seemed to me that this situation needed to be lived, and I agreed. Two features in the program – putting on a hood and the inclusion of snippets of news – they also came up with.”
For people who don’t follow skating but heard about the Olympic doping scandal— Kamila Valieva, who tested positive for banned substance trimetazadine, just debuted her new free skate which ends with this pose on the right, the same as the bag she wore on her head in Beijing 2022 pic.twitter.com/7aPjr3lfJk
— Rita Wenxin Wang (@RitawWang) September 25, 2022
Valieva appeared tearful at the end of her performance and admitted that it had brought back memories from Beijing.
“I’m glad that so many people came out to support us. I’m glad that I was able to touch the souls of people and that they lived through this story with me,” said the skater.
“When I skated this program in training, I had no tears. But now I came out [to perform], and it was as if I had been plunged into this situation again.
“I understood that tears were welling up in me, and I still need to skate the program.”
Valieva’s short skate routine one day previously at Moscow’s Megasport Palace had begun with a more subtle reference to her doping scandal woes, as she spelled out the Morse code for ‘vera’ – meaning ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ in English – with her hand.