Figure skating icon Tara Lipinski’s recent comments on Kamila Valieva’s doping scandal at the Winter Olympics have made one thing clear in her eyes: Valieva should not compete.
Valieva’s failed drug test came to light after helping Russia win a gold medal in the team skating event last week. As the news erupted, current and past Olympians made sure they voiced their opinions loud and clear.
Lipinski, a Philadelphia native, was one of the most vocal in the crowd.
Lipinski and Johnny Weir gave commentary over Valieva’s performance Tuesday in the women’s figure skating short program. Although both were uncharacteristically silent, their words were not minced when the 15-year-old skater’s routine ended.
2022 Winter Olympics
"She had a positive test,” Lipinski said as Valieva, who was visibly upset, bowed and skated off the ice. “We should not have seen this skate.”
Controversy and outrage grew after Valieva was cleared to compete in Beijing, despite failing a pre-Games drug test for a banned heart medication. Documents also revealed that Valieva listed two competition-legal heart medications on an anti-doping form before the failed test came to light.
Lipinski, who won a gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics at 15 years old, empathized with the pressure for a minor to perform, but ultimately condemned the decision to allow the young Russian to compete.
“I remember the overwhelming feelings and pressure that I felt and for a young person that’s a lot to deal with,” Lipinski told NBC’s Mike Tirico. “What we love about an Olympic Games is that we get to marvel at humans pushing athletic limits and doing the impossible but with one caveat to do it fairly and cleanly.”
Lipinski, who previously called Valieva the “queen of figure skating,” says the committee’s decision made her angry, confused and question everything she thought she knew.
“Regardless of age, of timing of results, at the end of the day there was a positive test and that skater should not be able to compete at the Olympic Games and for me I think it will leave a permanent scar in figure skating.” Lipinksi said.
Valieva advanced to the free skate final after her short program preformance scored 82.16, the event's top score.