Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva placed fourth in the women’s figure skating final at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Thursday, capping more than a week of controversy after the teenager was allowed to skate despite testing positive for a banned substance.
Valieva was tipped for gold in the event, but crashed several times during her free skate routine. Alongside the 15-year-old was her trainer, on whom the spotlight is now on.
Honorary Coach: At the center of the controversy – and of the Russian skating world – is Valieva’s coach, Eteri Tutberidze.
Often called the most powerful woman in figure skating, Tutberidze is the driving force behind Russian dominance in the sport. Her studio in Moscow attracts top female figure skaters from across Russia, who are trained from an early age to break records and perform dazzlingly complex jumps, several coaches and skaters have told CNN.
Valieva made history last week by becoming the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics, and recent Russian skaters are known for pushing the limits of the tricks they can do, from triple axes to triple flips and more. difficult combinations.
“We are absolutely sure that Kamila is innocent and clean,” Tutberidze told Russian television last week.
Tutberidze is also infamous for his brutal training regimens: In a December interview with Russian television, she said her skaters practice 12 hours a day, saying they can “always do more, demand more of yourself”.
The coach has produced a string of Olympic medalists, but there has also been scrutiny on how his best proteges have had short-lived careers.
CNN has reached out to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for comment from Tutberidze and ROC team doctor Filipp Shvetsky on the points raised in this story, but has not received a response.
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