The teenage Russian figure skater at the center of a doping case at the Beijing Olympics had three substances that can be used to treat heart conditions in the sample she provided to an antidoping laboratory before the Games, according to a document filed in her arbitration hearing on Sunday.
The skater, Kamila Valieva, was cleared to continue competing in the Games by a panel of arbitrators Monday even though one of the drugs found in her system, trimetazidine, is on the list of drugs banned by global antidoping officials. Valieva, 15, provided the sample in December, but Russian antidoping officials said they only learned of her positive result last week.
But according to documents confirmed by someone who took part in the hearing, the Stockholm laboratory that carried out the examination of Valieva’s sample also found evidence of two other heart medications, hypoxen and L-Carnatine, that are not on the banned list.
The presence of trimetazidine in Valieva’s system may have been a mistake, Russian and Olympic officials have suggested. But the discovery of several substances in the sample of an elite athlete, especially one as young as Valieva, was highly unusual, according to a prominent antidoping official.
“It’s a trifecta of substances - two of which are allowed, and one that is not allowed,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. He added that the benefits of such a combination “seem to be aimed at increasing endurance, reducing fatigue and promoting greater efficiency in using oxygen.”
Earlier Tuesday, a member of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board told reporters that Valieva’s positive result might have stemmed from a case of contamination with medication that her grandfather has been taking. And in testimony provided to an earlier hearing with Russian antidoping officials on February ninth, and later submitted as evidence in Sunday’s hearing in Beijing, Valieva’s mother said her daughter was taking hypoxen because of heart “variations.”
Valieva’s grandfather did not testify in the original hearing in Russia, but did provide a prerecorded video shot in a car, according to a portion of the document. In the video, the document said, he claimed to use trimetazidine periodically when he suffered “attacks,” and showed a packet of the medication to the camera. Valieva’s mother said in her evidence in the Russian hearing that Valieva’s grandfather accompanied the teenager to practice on a daily basis, and stayed with Valieva until her mother returned home from work.
The World Anti-Doping Agency, which is charged with policing doping in global sports, declined to comment on the document. The Russian antidoping agency, known as Rusada, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Wada had been among the organizations that pressed for Valieva’s suspension from competition - which would have effectively ended her Olympics - last week after revelations that she had tested positive became public the day after she helped Russian skaters win the team competition in Beijing.
Cleared to compete by a panel of arbitrators Monday, Valieva returned to the ice Tuesday and took first place in the short program of the women’s singles competition. She is widely expected to win the event after the free skate Thursday.
- This article originally appeared in The New York Times.