Why Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva can compete at Olympics after failed drugs test

Coach Eteri Tutberidze, left, talks to Kamila Valieva in training on Sunday. Credit: AP

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete for a second gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, despite failing a pre-Games drug test.

After a marathon five-and-a-half hour hearing, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled on Monday that the 15-year-old does not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full hearing into her positive test for the heart drug trimetazidine.

The positive test was recorded on December 25 last year.

Valieva, Russia's star skater, almost broke her own world record in the team event last week and became the first female skater to land quad jumps at the Olympics in her free skate on February 8.

ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward explains the court's ruling

Why is she allowed to compete?

The CAS cited “exceptional circumstances” for its decision and included Valieva’s status as a “protected person” under the World Anti-Doping Code, “serious issues” in the process of notifying Valieva of her result, and the fact a suspension could cause her “irreparable harm”.

The ruling only addresses whether Valieva can keep skating before her case is resolved.

It doesn’t decide the fate of the one gold medal that she has already won in the team event, nor whether Valieva is guilty of doping.

Valieva in training. Credit: AP

Those questions will be answered by a separate investigation led by the Russian anti-doping agency.

When will she compete?

The ruling means the Russian team can still aim for the first women’s figure skating podium sweep in Olympic history, although there won't be an actual medal ceremony.

In a further extraordinary twist on Monday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) responded to the ruling by declaring that if, as expected, Valieva finishes in the top three in Beijing, there will be no medal ceremony.

Valieva has wowed fans at the Olympics. Credit: AP

The medals will be retrospectively presented once the full case has been concluded – which could take months or even years.

The result of the team event, which Russia won over the United States with Japan in third place and Canada fourth, will also not be ratified until the conclusion of Valieva’s case, meaning it may take months or even years for the medals to be awarded.

Why have her coaching team been criticised?

Valieva's embattled coach Eteri Tutberidze showed up to watch her daughter Diana Davis compete in the ice dance competition in Beijing.

Tutberidze has come under fire after Valieva’s drug test, from December, was flagged last week for traces of a banned heart medication.

Kamila Valieva (front centre) reacts after Russia's women's free skate team wins gold.

She is the focus of two investigations from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Russian anti-doping agency to find out how a young athlete in her care tested positive.

The case has prompted concern for the welfare of Valieva and other child athletes, and questions over the Olympic status of Russia, which is already banned from having its anthem and flag at the Games because of past doping cases.