This article by Yana Pashaeva is published by Slate. Here is an excerpt:
On Friday, the day after her final routine, figure skater Kamila Valieva had already left the Olympics and arrived back in Moscow—but Russian media has still not finished discussing the tragedy that it witnessed on Thursday in Beijing. Although Russians won gold and silver medals in the Olympic women’s figure skating competition, there has been no feeling of celebration.
Like many other Russians, I watched the competition live and felt immense pain every time Valieva, who had seemed untouchable and was expected to be the champion, stumbled and fell. After the routine, it was even more heartbreaking to hear the judges announce that Valieva would drop out of first place straight down to fourth. Commentators on Russia 1 Channel, which is broadcasting the Games nationwide, were crying and blaming the World Anti-Doping Agency and International Olympic Committee for putting a 15-year-old under colossal pressure because of the doping scandal. “They broke her. That’s what they wanted, and they achieved it,” said Irina Slutskaya, a Russian former figure skater, and two-time Olympic medalist. Her colleague, well-known figure skating TV commentator Andrei Zhurankov added that “sports officials destroyed the most talented figure skater in the world.”
All attention was on Valieva—the commentators focused on how much she is a true hero despite all her mistakes even when her compatriots, gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova and silver medalist Alexandra Trusova, were receiving their awards at the flower ceremony. Seventeen-year-old Shcherbakova, who delivered a mistake-free performance that featured two quadruple jumps (before Valieva, Trusova, and Shcherbakova, no women had ever landed quads at the Olympics), was smiling and jumping at the podium. However, the gold medalist admitted during the press conference later that once Valieva failed, and she learned that she would thus become the champion, she “was not ready to celebrate.”
Read the full story here.