(NEW YORK) — Former athletes reacted online to the results of the women’s figure skating individual event with sympathy for Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva and frustration with the sporting officials that allowed her to skate.
In an unexpected turn of events, 15-year-old Valieva placed fourth in the event which ended on Thursday after falling several times. Valieva was seen crying after her performance.
The event has been overshadowed by controversy after Valieva tested positive for a banned drug in December, ahead of the Russian Figure Skating Championships.
After ROC skater Anna Shcherbakova finished her program, Team USA members sitting in the arena got up and walked out, before Kamila Valieva took the ice as the last skater in the event, according to ABC’s Alexandra Faul.
Shcherbakova won the gold medal, ROC skater Aleksandra Trusova won the silver medal and Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto won the bronze medal.
Former figure skater and Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Wagner weighed in on Twitter, criticizing the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to allow Valieva to skate in the event.
“This is a moment where you genuinely have to say- that poor kid. She should not have ever been put in this position. She shouldn’t have been out on that ice, she shouldn’t have been put in a position where she became the face of a problem bigger than her,” Wagner said in a tweet.
Wagner also expressed frustration with Valieva becoming the center of attention of the entire event, overshadowing the other skaters.
Valieva, who was expected to win gold, became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the winter Olympics during this year’s team event. Medals for the team event have not yet been awarded, pending the results of an investigation that could lead to Valieva’s disqualification from the Olympics.
U.S. Olympian Polina Edmunds also expressed sympathy for Valieva.
“Very traumatizing Olympic experience for Kamila Valieva. She should not have been allowed to compete, it’s devastating that she was put in this situation, on all levels,” Edmunds said on twitter.
Edmunds also criticized the judging system and coaches for their “abuse” of athletes.
“If you’re going to mad at someone, be mad at the judging system. They are the ones that have caused all this. Be mad at coaching team’s that prioritize medals over health, not entire countries. There are many clean athletes who have also suffered from the monopoly of this team,” Edmunds said in another tweet.
In a video he posted on twitter, two-time Olympian figure skater and NBC Olympic Analyst Johnny Weir called the event heartbreaking.
“That was the most bizarre and heartbreaking event I have seen in my entire life and I hope that it is never repeated,” said Weir.
Former American figure skater Adam Rippon weighed in as well, tweeting “What a s*&$ show omg.”
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