Kamila Valieva Controversy: After the Kamila Valieva Issue, The Olympic Figure Skating Minimum Age Was Raised to 17 Years Old
Kamila Valeryevna Valieva (Russian: aмила алевна алиева; Tatar: амил алери к лиева; born April 26, 2006) is a Russian figure skater. She is the 2022 European champion, the 2021 Rostelecom Cup champion, the 2021 Skate Canada International champion, the 2022 Russian national champion, and the silver medalist in the 2021 Russian National.
She is also a provisional Olympic team event champion for 2022, pending the outcome of a WADA inquiry.
When she was 15, the Russian figure skater tested positive for a prohibited drug in Beijing in February. Following the controversy that tarnished the 2022 Winter Olympics, figure skating has agreed to raise the minimum age for competing from 15 to 17.
Kamila Valieva, a 15-year-old Russian figure skater, tested positive for a prohibited drug in Beijing in February. Valieva’s case generated concerns about whether the minimum age for figure skating competitions should be raised to protect youngsters.
The minimum age for skaters will be 16 in the 2023-24 season and 17 in the 2024-25 season, in time for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
The motion was approved by a vote of 100 to 16 with two abstentions during the congress in Phuket, Thailand, far exceeding the required two-thirds majority. “This is a really important decision,” International Skating Union president Jan Dijkema said after the vote was met with cheers and clapping from delegates. “I would call it a historic decision.”
Valieva, now 16, failed a drug test during the Russian national championships last December, but the result was not released until 8 February, a day after she helped Russia win the team event at the Beijing Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport permitted her to compete in the women’s singles event in Beijing, but she finished fourth with an error-filled free skate.
Tatiana Tarasova, a Russian figure skating instructor, believed the regulation modification was intended deliberately in her country.
“They realize that there are a lot of girls and boys in our nation and they want to keep them from competing,” she told Match TV in Russia. The Israeli delegate to the congress argued in favor of a failed amendment to the idea that the rule change would disproportionately affect smaller nations with fewer skaters. However, in an emotional statement, ISU Athlete Commission member Eric Radford stated that the vast majority of skaters supported the change.
Valieva began skating with RSDUSSHOR in Kazan in 2009. Ksenia Ivanova was her first coach, followed by Marina Kudriavtseva, Igor Lyutikov, and Natalia Dubinskaya. She relocated to Moscow when she was six years old to train at SSHOR Moskvich. Valieva switched skating clubs in the spring of 2018 to Sambo-70, when Eteri Tutberidze agreed to let her join her group.
Prior to her international debut in the 2018–19 season, recordings of Valieva’s short performance, performed to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel Im Spiegel and were inspired by Pablo Picasso’s painting Girl on a Ball, attracted widespread notice. Tutberidze called it her favorite show of the year. Picasso’s granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso took notice of the presentation and invited Valieva to visit her in Paris. She won the Russian Younger Age Championships that season, beating out training partners Sofia Akatieva and Sofia Samodelkina. Valieva later declared that she would keep her short program for her international debut next season.
On August 23, 2019, at the junior level of the Grand Prix in France, Valieva completed a quadruple toe loop with a positive “GOE,” making her the second woman in figure skating history (after Alexandra Trusova) to perform this jump at events sanctioned by the International Skating Union. On October 18, 2020, a video of her performing a triple Axel with complications in training with two hands up went viral.
She performed the triple Axel flawlessly in the short program at the Russian Cup stage in Moscow on December 5, 2020. On February 12, 2021, a video of Valieva performing a quadruple Salchow while training with two hands aloft went viral. Valieva became the first woman in Olympic history to land a quadruple leap in 2022, with former German figure skater and two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt describing her as “a little prodigy, whose incredibly difficult feats and grace dazzled the entire world at only 15.”
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