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Kremlin responds to Olympic chief’s criticism of Valeeva coach’s ‘scary’ reaction

Kremlin responds to Olympic chief's criticism of Valeeva coach's 'scary' reaction

Beijing 2022 Olympics – Figure Skating – Women’s Individual Skating – Freestyle Skating – Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China – February 17, 2022. Kamila Valeeva of the Russian Olympic Committee interacted with coaches Daniel Glickingoz and Eteri Tutberidze after her performance. Photograph: Evgenia Novozinina/Reuters

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  • Bach was “disturbed” as he watched Valeeva collapse
  • Calls coach’s reaction ‘chilling’
  • Kremlin says ruthless coach wins medals
  • Bach wants footnotes to be investigated by governments

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Friday hit back at the Olympic chief’s comments that he was “disturbed” by watching young Russian figure skater Kamila Valeeva collapse under pressure and criticized the 15-year-old coach’s coach. Her “scary” reaction.

At a press conference earlier on Friday, IOC President Thomas Bach said he was “disturbed” by watching Valeeva’s fault-ridden performance in fourth place in the women’s singles Thursday night. Read more

Bach also said he was confused by her coach’s harsh reaction afterward, and called on governments to consider the role of courtiers around young athletes.

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The Kremlin responded by saying that the ruthlessness of Valeeva’s coach won medals.

“Thomas Bach is a very reliable person in the world of sport. Of course we respect his opinion, but we do not necessarily agree with him,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call later on Friday.

“He doesn’t like the harshness of our coaches but everyone knows that in high-level sport the toughness of a coach is the key for their athletes to win.

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“And we see that the athletes achieve victories. So let’s be proud of our winners, and congratulate our medal winners. Valieva ranked fourth but in high-level sport, the victories were the strongest.”

Valeeva, who was leading the women’s figure skating event after the short program, cracked in the free skating Thursday night, stumbling to finish fourth as her compatriot Anna Shcherbakova skated for gold.

The 15-year-old failed a doping test at her national championships last December, but the result was only revealed on February 8, the day after Valeeva had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the team event.

She was allowed to compete in this event despite the doping scandal hanging over her and the Games.

high pressure

“I must say that I was very upset yesterday when I watched the competition on TV,” Bach told a news conference. “How high is the pressure on her?”

“To see her struggling on the ice, to see her, how she’s trying to make herself up again, how she’s then trying to finish her program and you can see in every movement, in body language, you can feel this is tremendous, tremendous psychological pressure and maybe she’d rather let go of the ice and try to let this go.” The story behind it.”

Valeeva left ice tears hiding behind her hands and sobbing in the “kiss and cry” area where she was confronted by her coach Eteri Tutberidze, who received the state award from Russian President Vladimir Putin after the 2018 Olympics. Read more

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“Why did you let her go? Explain to me, why? Why did you stop fighting completely? Somewhere after the axis I let him go,” said Tutberidze.

This reaction confused Bach, who said that it was “very important” to consider Valeeva’s entourage.

“When I then saw how she was greeted by her close entourage…it was scary to see,” Bach said.

“Instead of giving her comfort, instead of trying to help her, you can feel this scary atmosphere, this distance and if you interpret their body language, it’s only going to get worse because that was some kind of disapproval.”

government support

The saga opened a debate about the suitability of the Olympic environment for the palace, but Bach said the IOC had limited means to act. Read more

“We see that we have very limited means to address it,” he said. “We are not police, we cannot interrogate and we have formal prosecutions; our punishments are very limited.

“Ultimately, it is a question where we need the support of governments.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency said it had launched an investigation into Valeeva’s entourage, which also includes, among other things, figure skating team doctor Filip Shvitsky, who has been suspended in the past for doping athletes. Read more

Bach also said the IOC would also look into the rules that apply to minors in competitions where Valeeva was also released to compete due to the mitigating factor that she was 15 years old.

“In fair competition, the same rules must apply to everyone,” Bach said.

The pressure on the Russian figure skaters was all too palpable when silver medalist Alexandra Trusova broke down in tears before the coronation ceremonies.

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She said, “Everyone has a gold medal, but not me. I hate skateboarding. I hate it. I hate this sport.” “I will never skate again.” Read more

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Written by Julian Britto; Additional reporting by Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow; Editing by Ossian Shine / Himani Sarkar / Ken Ferris

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.