Evan Bates calls Kamila Valiyeva doping case secrecy ‘an injustice’

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U.S. ice dancer Evan Bates blasted a decision by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency to treat the Kamila Valiyeva doping case from the Beijing Olympics as confidential, calling the secrecy of the investigation “an injustice” to those that performed clean.

Valiyeva helped the Russian team win gold at the Winter Games in February before finding out that she tested positive for a banned substance the previous December. The then-15-year-old Valiyeva appealed a provisional suspension and was allowed to skate in the women’s individual event, where she crashed several times and finished fourth.

The investigation stretched through the summer, and only this past Friday did Russia’s anti-doping body say it would not publish the results of its investigation because of Valiyeva’s status as a protected person due to her age.

“It’s been so frustrating,” said Bates, who helped the U.S. win the silver medal, which would be elevated to gold if Valiyeva was found to have doped ahead of the Winter Games. “Extremely disappointing to be at this point, eight months later, and to still have it so shrouded in secrecy. And I feel like, you know, as a base line we should hope for transparency, and not only for the public but especially for the athletes involved. It seems only right.”

Along with the Americans, the Japanese team could be elevated from bronze to silver and the Canadians into bronze.

The International Olympic Committee refused to hold a medal ceremony for the team event in Beijing, which left Bates and partner Madison Chock along with their teammates and the Japanese team to head home without their awards.

“It was hugely disappointing,” Bates said, “but it seems to be growing and becoming exponentially more disappointing as the days and months go by and there’s no resolution, and the most recent release by RUSADA about not making anything public compounds the frustration quite a bit. We’re just waiting like the rest of us to hear.”

World Anti-Doping Agency rules say public disclosure in cases involving a protected person is optional — publishing a verdict is mandatory for most cases — and it “shall be proportionate to the facts and circumstances of the case.”

“If she is exonerated, there is nothing to hide and it should be made public,” Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, told The Associated Press. “Certainly, keeping the decision and facts secret make a mockery of the whole process, and there is no wonder athletes and the public do not trust the global WADA anti-doping system.”

Tygart called on WADA, the IOC and the International Skate Union to immediately announce an appeal of any decision and hold an open process, as the rules provide, so there is confidence in the final outcome.

“Short of this,” Tygart said, “it’s impossible for athletes or the public to believe what happened at the 2022 Beijing Games was real and not just another fraudulent win by the Russians like so many before, as the evidence has clearly shown.”

Since the Valiyeva case became public, the ISU raised the minimum age for skaters comping at the next Winter Games in 2026 in Italy to 17 years old. But that does nothing for those who were impacted by the Valiyeva case in Beijing.

“Again, like, 19 athletes or however many are waiting for their medals all competed clean,” said Bates, who along with Chock won Skate America on Sunday, “and I think we’ve been pretty respectfully quiet through these months.”

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
Getty
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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Grand Prix Final Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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