Valieva reacts to being cleared: ‘Happy but tired’

BEIJING — Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva says she is happy but worn out after a grueling doping hearing ended with her being allowed to skate in the women’s short program Tuesday night at the Beijing Games.

The 15-year-old is the favorite for the gold medal in the women’s competition alongside her Russian teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova.

Valieva was cleared to skate even though she failed a drug test taken Dec. 25, the result only emerging last week after she won team gold with the Russian Olympic Committee. The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave her a favorable decision in part because she is a minor, known in Olympic jargon as a “protected person,” and is subject to different rules from an adult athlete.

“These days have been very difficult for me,” Valieva told Russian state broadcaster Channel One in comments shown Monday night. “I’m happy but I’m tired emotionally.”

There won’t be a medal ceremony if Valieva finishes in the top three because the International Olympic Committee is concerned Valieva could still be banned after a full investigation of her doping case. The court ruled Monday on only whether she could skate at the Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport had already said Valieva gave evidence during its lengthy hearing that ended around 3 a.m. Monday local time. It wasn’t clear that she sat through the entire thing by video link from the Olympic village.

“I sat there for seven hours, we had one 20-minute break, and I sat there and watched. It was very difficult, but it is apparently one of the moments, of the phases, that I have to go through,” she said, adding that the entire process taught her that adult life “can be unfair to some extent.”

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