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Russian Figure Skater Kamila Valieva Fails To Medal As Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir Deliver Tense TV Commentary: 'Thank God'

Russian Figure Skater Kamila Valieva Fails To Medal As Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir Deliver Tense TV Commentary: 'Thank God'

Kamila Valieva‘s controversial time at the Beijing Olympics is over.

The 15-year-old figure skater competing for the Russian Olympic Committee‘s team had been at the center of a very controversial situation after being allowed to continue to skate even after testing positive for a banned substance.

The International Olympic Committee had responded to the controversy by previously announcing that if she were to win a medal in the short program finals, they would not hold a medal ceremony. And for most of the week, it looked as though that might happen, as Valieva was the favorite to win the gold.

As we previously noted, that potential situation understandably caused much chagrin throughout the rest of the figure skating community. But now, Thursday’s free skate finals have now come and gone, and Valieva did not medal. And the rest of the figure skating world is letting their opinions on the matter be known!

Related: Leslie Jones BLASTS NBC’s Winter Olympics Coverage! Whoa!

As they always are, NBC broadcasters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were right on top of the controversy before and throughout Valieva’s free skate performance. Watching Kamila warm up prior to taking the ice for the event, the two former skaters shared insightful thoughts about it all.

Lipinski noted that the skater’s age — remember, she’s just 15! — needs to be taken into context throughout this doping situation, saying:

“The adults around [Valieva] have failed her.”

And that they have! Weir agreed with that, and correctly added that the failed drug test should have disqualified her in the first place:

“There is no gray area … if you fail a drug test you can not compete.”

Valieva’s free skate failure took care of that, though.

The Russian teenager delivered a mistake-filled performance during the event, which aired live very early on Thursday morning across America. Weir explained to viewers that Kamila’s program was “incredibly difficult,” but still, the teenager was uncharacteristically mistake-prone throughout, falling several times during the run.

Related: TV Journo Katie Couric Was Apparently A HUGE Bully During Prior Olympics Broadcasts!

In the end, Valieva finished fourth in the event. Her Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal in the Thursday free skate with a 255.95 score. Another Russian competitor, Alexandra Trusova, won the silver medal after successfully completing five quad jumps during her run, and logging 251.73 points — beating her previous competitive best by nearly 40 points. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto earned the bronze medal with her own strong run to round out the top three.

In the aftermath, alongside fellow broadcaster Terry Gannon, Weir and Lipinski shared their thoughts — and their relief — about the situation. Weir was straightforward with his surprise at Valieva’s unusually inept routine, saying:

“Most mistakes I’ve ever seen Kamila make in a free skate.”

Lipinski added:

“I can’t imagine how tough this has been on Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her weren’t able to make better decisions and guide her and be there for her because she’s the one now dealing with the consequences and she’s just 15 and that’s not fair.”

As it played out that Valieva would not medal at all in the event, Gannon added:

“There will be a gold, silver, and a bronze medal in the women’s event in Beijing.”

Weir then dropped the quip of the night in response, saying:

“Thank God.”

And Lipinski added more context to Weir’s tense statement, explaining the relief that many of us were thinking that clean athletes would now be able to represent their country in a well-earned medal ceremony:

“Thank goodness for all the other medalists to have that moment, and to have done it cleanly.”


Sympathetically, Weir added:

“[This is] the destruction of a young person. … On a human level, I can’t imagine going through what she has been through. But that doesn’t change the fact that she should have been nowhere near this competition.”

Wow. Powerful! And honest… The medal ceremony didn’t go down without controversy, either. ESPN reports that the silver medal winner, Trusova, was “sobbing” after her run and at one point “[Trusova] said she didn’t want to participate in the medal ceremony.” Whoa! As to be expected, there is a LOT of reaction out there early Thursday with figure skating fans and Olympic viewers sharing their opinions on Valieva’s failure to medal.

Much of the ire was directed at the teen’s coaches and other adults around her, as you can see (below):

“That was very hard to watch: a 15-year-old child having a minor breakdown on the ice and crying her eyes out afterwards. Kamila Valieva should never have been put in this position after failing a drugs test last week. Her coaching team should be banned from the sport!”

“Truths that can exist all at once: 1. Kamila Valieva is a talented technical & artistic figure skater. 2. She should NOT be allowed to compete. 3. She is a child and the adults who surround her are 100% to blame. 4. She is deserving of empathy.”

“Possibly one of the worst sights in Olympic history today. A 15-year-old completely destroyed, a gold medallist looking glum as can be. Kamila Valieva stumbled into 4th and reduced to tears in women’s figure skating competition. There will be a podium. What a dreadful conclusion.”

“She shouldn’t have been out there not just because of the failed drug test but because she’s a fifteen year old child. Kamila Valieva, you have to feel for her.”

And CNN journo Wynn Westmoreland spoke for many with her reaction to Weir’s “Thank God” comment following Valieva’s short program performance:

Quite the controversy, for sure.

Here is more on Valieva’s fateful final run on Thursday morning (below):

What do U all think of how things ended up going down for Kamila Valieva and this whole figure skating fiasco at the Olympics this year, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF with your take on the matter down in the comments (below)…

[Image via NBC Sports/YouTube]

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Feb 17, 2022 08:56am PDT