— Published 25 August 2023

Americans call for transparency

The Kamila Valieva soap opera continues. Almost a month to the day before her hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), scheduled for 26-29 September in Lausanne, the American skaters still without their medals from the team event at the Beijing Winter Games have written to the court’s director general, Matthieu Reeb. According to USA Today, they are asking to be allowed to attend the hearing of the young Russian skater as observers. “We make our request seeking much-needed transparency that we have been largely denied throughout this arduous process“, wrote the Americans in a letter sent on Thursday 24 August. “The outcome of this hearing has a material effect on our lives and careers, and as an affected party, we ask for the opportunity to observe a small part of the process that has concerningly remained hidden from view despite the international attention surrounding this case for the past year and a half.” The hearing before CAS should normally take place behind closed doors. It follows the appeal lodged by WADA after the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) cleared Kamiela Valieva of any wrongdoing or negligence despite her doping test in December 2021. The Americans continued: “We are not the only ones affected — the Japanese and Canadian teams have also been unfairly enmeshed in this turmoil, and we ask that CAS consider granting a member of each team observer status as well.” At the Beijing 2022 Games, Russia won gold in the team figure skating event, ahead of the United States, Japan and Canada. But more than 500 days after the competition, the medals have still not been awarded.