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Olympics Live: Russian skater blames grandfather’s medicine


Olympics Live: Russian skater blames grandfather’s medicine

Kamila Valieva’s lawyers say the Russian skater failed a doping test before the Olympics because of contamination from medication her grandfather was taking.

Denis Oswald says part of the 15-year-old’s defence is “contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking.

The argument was made at a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing late Sunday night. The CAS judges ruled Monday that 15-year-old Valieva can compete in the women’s individual event despite testing positive for a banned heart medication.

Although she can skate, the investigation will continue for months, and she may be stripped of medals later. She helped the Russian team win gold last week and is the favourite in the women’s event starting Tuesday.

Valieva and her entourage will be investigated by the Russian anti-doping agency after the Olympics. Even if the Russian investigation clears her, the ruling will likely be appealed.

Oswald, a veteran sports lawyer who investigated Sochi Olympics doping scandal cases for the IOC, says lawyers for Valieva “presented elements that brought some doubts about her guilt.”

The CAS panel cited several reasons for allowing her to skate, including her status as a minor, the potential harm to her career and the delay in informing Russia about the positive test, from a sample taken on Dec. 25.

Even if she wins another medal, the International Olympic Committee announced no medals will be handed out in events that Valieva places in until after the full investigation.

The defending Olympic champion U.S. men’s curling team beat Switzerland 7-4 and moved within reach of a playoff berth.

John Shuster’s team is in fourth place after its fourth win, with matches against the two bottom teams in the standings — Italy and Denmark — remaining. Six wins would definitely earn the 2018 gold medalists a spot in the semifinals, and five might even be good enough.

The Swiss led 4-2 after six ends before the Americans (4-3) rolled off three scoring ends in a row. They picked up two points in the seventh with the last-rock advantage known as the hammer, then stole a point in the eighth and ninth when Switzerland held the edge.

Defending silver medalist Sweden (7-0) remained unbeaten with an 8-3 win over Denmark in the morning session. Britain (5-1) is in second, and Canada (5-2) beat China 10-8 to hold onto third place.

The Americans entered the day tied for fourth with Switzerland and Russia, which lost to Norway 12-5.

Defending champion Sofia Goggia won’t win a second straight Olympic gold medal in the women’s downhill.

 The Italian took the lead in the race shortly after Mikaela Shiffrin completed her run but Corinne Suter then finished ahead of Goggia. Shiffrin was in 17th place with about half the racers still to come.

Nadia Delago of Italy was in third.

The 29-year-old Goggia was injured during a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo last month. She partially tore a ligament in her left knee and sustained a minor fracture in that leg.

Suter would become the first woman since Lindsey Vonn to hold the Olympic and world championship titles downhill at the same time.

The four-man biathlon relay race scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday has been moved to 2:30 p.m. due to exceptionally cold temperatures at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Stadium.

During the relay biathletes ski three laps and shoot twice, meaning they will spend about 20 to 30 minutes out in the cold on the track — in addition to the time they spend waiting for their turn. They also risk frostbite on their hands, since their trigger fingers are exposed while shooting.

At 11 a.m., the temperature at the stadium was 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 17 degrees Celsius) and was expected to drop to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius) by 6 p.m. That means the racers would face dangerous conditions.

Those were air temperatures and did not take into consideration the wind, which was blowing at almost 5 mph (8 kph.) The wind chill makes the actual temperature feel closer to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 degrees Celsius.)

Eileen Gu took home another medal from the Beijing Games with a second-place finish in the women’s ski slopestyle competition. That means she could still become the first action-sports athlete to capture three medals at the same Winter Games.

Gu’s bid for another gold medal was thwarted by Mathilde Gremaud. The freestyle skier from Switzerland won the event on a bitterly cold and hazy day when temperatures hovered around minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 Celsius). Kelly Sildaru of Estonia took home bronze.

Gu, the 18-year-old American-born freestyler who is competing for her mother’s home country of China, won the big air contest last week. She’s also competing in the halfpipe competition.

Sitting in eighth place after two runs, Gu used a strong final run to work her way onto the podium. She couldn’t catch Gremaud, who scored an 86.56 on her second run.

Anna Gasser of Austria has won her second straight Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboarding big air.

The 30-year-old Gasser held off a field with an average age of 21, including 20-year-old Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand, who last week won her country’s first-ever Winter Olympics gold medal in slopestyle. Sadowski Synnott took silver Tuesday.

Kokomo Murase of Japan earned bronze with a pair of 1080s at Big Air Shougang. It was the first Olympic medal for the 17-year-old.

The start of the women’s downhill ski race at the Beijing Games has been delayed for at least 30 minutes because of the wind.

An hour before the scheduled start of the race, the wind was whipping at about 15 mph (about 25 kph), with gusts topping 25 mph (40 kph) at the top of the hill.

The temperature was minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 Celsius).

Defending champion Sofia Goggia starts 13th, immediately after Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States.

The men’s downhill, which was supposed to open the Alpine competition on Feb 6., had to be postponed until the following day because of wind.

Eileen Gu fell on her second run and dropped into eighth place in the final of the women’s ski slopestyle competition at the Beijing Games.

Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland jumped into the lead after two of three runs. Kelly Sildaru of Estonia sits in second place and American Maggie Voisin in third.

Gu over-rotated on the third rail and tumbled to the snow. She fixed her helmet before skiing down.

Gu, the 18-year-old American-born freestyler who is competing for her mother’s home country of China, is trying to win her second gold of these Winter Olympics. She won the gold medal in big air last week. She’s also competing in the halfpipe contest later this week.

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva says she’s happy but worn out after a gruelling doping hearing ended with her being allowed to skate at the Beijing Games.

The 15-year-old tells Russian state broadcaster Channel One that the past few days have been very difficult for her.

“I’m happy but I’m tired emotionally,” she said in comments broadcast Monday night.

Valieva is the favourite for the gold medal in the women’s competition alongside her Russian teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova. The competition starts with the short program Tuesday night Beijing time and continues with the free skate Thursday.

There won’t be a medal ceremony if Valieva finishes in the top three because the International Olympic Committee is concerned she could still be banned over a failed drug test from Dec. 25. That test was not revealed until after she won team gold with the Russian Olympic Committee last week.

Associated Press

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