Kremlin won't confirm positive drug test reports while backing Kamila Valieva and all Russian figure skaters

By Rebecca Wright, Christine Brennan, Helen Regan and Nathan Hodge, CNN

    (CNN) -- Russian teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva, who is at the center of a drug testing controversy at Beijing 2022, has received the support of the Kremlin back in Moscow, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would not confirm reports of a positive test among the Russian figure skating team.

"It [the reports] flared up among those who did not have verified information," said Peskov. "As usual, not knowing the details, everyone began to yell far and wide. We will not join this orderly row of yellers."

It remains unclear exactly when the positive test was taken, but Russian newspaper RBC Sport reported on Wednesday that a failed drug test was taken in December and has only come to light during the Winter Olympics.

The controversy has continued to delay the medal ceremony of the figure skating team event, which was won by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

"The only primary source of information should be the IOC," Peskov added.

"You have heard the IOC statements, there is no point for us to add anything here. We are guided by the IOC and we wish our athletes, including Valieva, only gold medals."

Multiple sources have told CNN Sports analyst Christine Brennan the athlete from the figure skating team event on the ROC team who tested positive for a prohibited substance is a minor.

The only minor on the ROC figure skating team is the 15-year-old star Valieva, who made history in the team event this week as the first woman to land a quad jump at the Winter Olympics.

Valieva is the favorite to take gold in the women's figure skating event -- probably the most celebrated event at the Winter Olympics. That competition gets underway on February 15.

RBC Sport reported on Wednesday that a member of the ROC's figure skating team tested positive for trimetazidine, according to a source familiar with the situation and a source in the Russian Figure Skating Federation.

CNN has reached out to the ROC for comment but has not yet received a response.

Trimetazidine is a drug used to treat people with a heart condition known as Angina, a condition in which a person has chest pain due to poor blood flow to the heart. It is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned list.

The ROC team won gold in the team event ahead of the USA in silver and Japan in third.


'Clash of good and evil'


IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Thursday that he wouldn't comment on "speculation" over the case and couldn't confirm whether the medal ceremony would go ahead.

"At the moment, it's speculation ... We have to wait with patience for this case to find its way to some kind of conclusion," said Adams.

In a statement sent to CNN, the ITA said it is "aware of the various reports following the postponed medal ceremony for the figure skating team event at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022."

While the IOC has not mentioned any athletes in connection with the case, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova posted a video on Twitter Thursday expressing her support for Valieva.

"Miracles can be simply right in front of us, and what Kamila Valieva did is a true miracle. I can explain why this is a miracle. It is a miracle because after she completed her program she won hearts of the whole world," Zakharova said.

"This is phenomenal. We see again, in front of our eyes this clash of good and evil and the desire of evil to make the amount of good as little as possible, so that good would lose its power."

Valieva, who helped her team take the gold in the team event with her historic performance, was seen training on the ice in a scheduled practice session on Thursday.

Team USA told CNN in a statement that it doesn't "have all the details" as to why the medal ceremony was postponed.

"But in situations like this, it's about more than gold. It's about the integrity of fair sport and accountability," the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) spokeswoman Kate Harman said.

The Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation also said it was premature to comment on the postponement of the awards ceremony, according to Russian sports channel Match-TV.

"The position of the Russian Federation is to steadily and consistently oppose all types of violations of sports rules and Olympic ethics," the ministry said, according to Match TV.


What is the ROC?


Russian athletes are unable to compete in the Olympics under their country's name due to sanctions from the IOC and WADA as a result of the country's "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping rules during the 2014 Sochi Games.

Although Russia competed at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, it was left to individual sports' governing bodies to decide whether or not Russian athletes were eligible to participate at the Games.

At the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, Russian athletes who could prove that they were clean were "invited" by the IOC to compete as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR) under the Olympic flag and anthem.

In February 2021, the IOC announced Russian athletes would compete as neutrals under the ROC acronym at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Olympics.

The-CNN-Wire
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