It was a medal moment like no other as chaos unfolded after the stunning results of the women’s figure skating final.
Emotions were high as 15-year-old gold-medal favorite Kamila Valeeva missed the podium after an uncharacteristically skating sensation in the midst of a doping scandal during the Games.
Valieva free skating entered the lead, but She took fourth place behind fellow ROC figure skaters Anna Shcherbakova Alexandra Trusova and Japanese Kaori Sakamoto.
But the moment that usually comes with the winners’ celebration, turned sad as the emotions that had been building up during the entire women’s event exploded onto the world stage.
Valeeva was left crying in the area of the kiss and crying after reading her results.
Shcherbakova calmly stood alone after learning that she had taken the gold, and Trusova burst into tears, and at first refusing to go to the podium, she escorted Valeeva, crying from the arena.
“I really can’t believe what I’m seeing,” said announcer Tara Lipinsky as the cameras focused on Shcherbakova.
“You’ve won the Olympics and you can’t even celebrate,” said Johnny Weir.
The announcers pointed out that the tears did not look like tears of joy, but the reason surrounding the rising emotions remained unclear.
As cameras followed Valieva behind the scenes, Trusova was clearly depicted in live video crying and telling her coach, “I can’t see this, I won’t see this,” according to a translation from NBC analyst Johhny Weir.
Trusova’s quartet-packed program wasn’t enough to earn her gold. Ware said she seemed upset about taking the silver and told her coaches that she would not be back on the ice for the coronation.
Shcherbakova won the gold in the competition while Trusova took the silver. Sakamoto won the bronze medal.
All three ended up on the podium.
Moments after Valeeva was discharged, workers began throwing a flower party that the IOC said would not take place if Valeeva was in the top three. The medals will be handed out in a ceremony that would not have happened in Beijing had Valeeva taken to the podium.
Valieva tested positive for receiving a banned heart drug at the Russian Championships in December, but the result was not revealed until last week, shortly after helping her win gold for a team that is now also in doubt.
To say that Valieva struggled in free skating would be an understatement. After taking first place in the short program, the 15-year-old had two falls and two trips in free skating. Her score of 224.09 put her in fourth place.
Advertisers cited external pressure on Valeeva as well as the need to perform on Olympic ice.
“I would have collapsed under it,” Lipinski said.
Re-watch it all unfold below:
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”