Figure skating great Katarina Witt was reduced to tears over the fallout of Kamila Valieva’s doping scandal at the Beijing Olympics.
Figure skating great Katarina Witt was reduced to tears on Thursday over the fallout of Kamila Valieva’s doping scandal at the 2022 Olympics.
Witt, a two-time gold medallist from Germany, called Valieva “a shadow of herself” following the Russian teen’s error-filled free skate performance, which dropped her to fourth place after a first-place finish in the short program on Tuesday at the Winter Games.
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“What has happened is exactly what she should have been protected from,” Witt said on German TV, according to Yahoo Sports.
“She is 15. She’s a child. I’m sorry. When you see her sitting there, shattered …”
Valieva fell on the ice during her free skate performance and appeared inconsolable as she awaited her scores off the ice, where she was joined by coaches Eteri Tutberidze and Daniil Gleikhengauz.
Following the routine, Tutberidze, a former skater who is notoriously strict, reportedly chided the 15-year-old: “Why did you let it go? Why did you stop fighting?”
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, has since blasted Valieva’s entourage for their “tremendous coldness” after the teen’s difficult outing.
“When I afterwards saw how she was received by her closest entourage with that appeared to be a tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this, rather than giving her comfort, rather than try to help her,” he said.
Witt, who won gold in the ladies’ singles events at the Sarajevo and Calgary Games in 1984 and 1988, respectively, noted the immense pressure Valieva was under.
“She was a shadow of herself,” Witt said. “She couldn’t win in this whole game whether she had skated perfectly and became Olympic champion. Yes, it would have been debated, but what has now happened is the absolute worst.”
Shortly after Valieva helped propel the Russian Olympic Committee to a gold medal in a team event, it was reported the teen had tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication, in December. She was cleared for competition on Monday by the Court of Arbitration for sport, noting Valieva, who is a minor, would suffer “irreparable harm” if disqualified.
Witt said she wished someone close to Valieva would have removed the young athlete from the situation entirely.
“I wish someone like her mother or someone responsible would have taken her out of there, put her in a plane home, three months away from this whole mess, before the tsunami which has crashed over her came,” Witt said.
Although Valieva didn’t medal in Thursday’s competition, her ROC teammates, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, won gold and silver, respectively.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission