The IOC’s decision came hours after the panel of arbitrators, which ruled on a narrow procedural point, banned Valeeva from continuing to ski in Beijing, saying it would cause “irreparable harm” to Valeeva if she was banned from competing. The IOC, international anti-competition officials and the skating governing body had asked the committee to re-suspension that would have kept her out of competition.
In a practice session half an hour after sentencing, Valieva performed her usual set of jumps and spins flawlessly as more than a hundred journalists watched. She left the rink holding her favorite stuffed rabbit Game, without talking to reporters, but the first Russian state TV channel later broadcast Her first public comments on the case.
“These days have been very difficult for me, and I have run out of emotions,” said Valeeva. “I’m happy, but emotionally tired.”
The jury that granted it a nearly six-hour delay met on Sunday but effectively ruled on one question: Did Russia behave inappropriately when it lifted Valeeva’s suspension last week, just one day after it was imposed? This decision effectively paved the way for Valieva to compete in the singles event, but three international organizations – the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the world ski governing body – immediately challenged it.
Valeeva took part in her own defense on Sunday, and appeared briefly to give a quick thank you for the kind words entered into the register about her athletic ability and added, in words translated into English, that she was not a traitor.
While the mood was tense during the hearing, there was little controversy, according to people present. One attendee described the exchanges before the committee as “aggressive but not emotional.”
In its decision, issued Monday afternoon in Beijing, the commission said it had “considered the fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm and a balance of interests” between Valieva and the organizations seeking to prevent it. It also indicated that Valieva was a minor and did not test positive at the Beijing Olympics, although she could face penalties when her case is examined after the Olympics.
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