The Plot Thickens in Kamila Valieva Doping Saga

There were actually 3 substances found in her sample
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2022 12:01 AM CST
Updated Feb 16, 2022 6:56 AM CST
There Were Actually 3 Substances in Kamila Valieva's Sample
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, practices ahead of the women's short program during the figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Beijing.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Not one, but three substances were found in Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva's sample, according to documents the New York Times reviewed—plus someone who participated in the hearing that cleared the 15-year-old to compete. Valieva had actually listed the other two drugs, Hypoxen and L-carnitine, on her doping control form; they are not banned, but the third, trimetazidine, is. All three can be used to treat the heart, and Russian officials have said Valieva must have accidentally ingested the trimetazidine because her grandfather takes the medication. But the chief exec of the US Anti-Doping Agency says this particular "trifecta" of substances, especially in an athlete so young, is strange.

What could they be used for? He says they "seem to be aimed at increasing endurance, reducing fatigue and promoting greater efficiency in using oxygen." Valieva has not commented on the latest news, but her mother said during the hearing that the Hypoxen was taken to treat heart "variations." As for L-carnitine, it has resulted in a coach being barred from distance running in the past when he gave athletes infusions of it to boost their performance; it is only allowed to be taken orally because an infusion- or IV-level dose is considered performance-enhancing. It's not clear how Valieva took it or what concentration it was detected at.

Valieva is the favorite to win the women's singles competition after Tuesday's short program; she next competes in Thursday's free skate. If she does, the medal ceremony will be delayed until her case is resolved. Yahoo News notes that NBC's figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, former figure skaters, were "outraged" at the decision to allow Valieva to compete Tuesday, and offered almost zero commentary while watching her program. "I feel I need to say again: She had a positive test. We should not have seen this skate," Lipinski said. (More Kamila Valieva stories.)

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