Young Russian Skater Backs Beleaguered Coaches

'You are absolute masters at what you do,' writes Kamila Valieva
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2022 1:47 PM CST
Kamila Valieva Heaps Praise on Her Coaches
Kamila Valieva of Russia competes in the women's free skate program on Thursday in Beijing.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The 15-year-old Russian skater embroiled in a doping scandal made a public show of support for her coaches on social media Monday, reports CNN. Kamila Valieva, whose Olympics ended with a disastrous skate that left her out of medal contention, put up a series of Instagram posts thanking her fans and coaches. "You are absolute masters at what you do!" she wrote of Eteri Tutberidze and Daniil Gleikhengauz. "You not only train, but also teach how to overcome yourself, which helps not only in sport but also in life." The teen also thanked "everyone who has been with me during this tough period: who was by my side and did not let me lose heart, who sent me supportive messages, who was just thinking of me, who prayed, who believed me and in me."

Valieva tested positive for a banned substance before the Olympics, though the results emerged only during the Games. She was allowed to continue competing because the investigation into her failed test isn't over yet. The World Anti-Doping Agency also has said it plans to look into the adults who were shepherding the teen through international competition. That includes the renowned Tutberidze, who has come under fire for what was perceived as harsh treatment of Valieva after the distraught teen completed her final routine at the Olympics.

"I was very disturbed when I watched it on TV," said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, per Yahoo Sports. "When I saw how she was received by the closest entourage with such a tremendous coolness, it was chilling to see this." Tutberidze defended herself, however. "I am still at a loss from the assessment of our work by the esteemed Mr. Bach," she wrote in an Instagram post, adding that she was "very grateful for the words of support" from others. (More Kamila Valieva stories.)

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