So, this event happened!

This tweet thread from Adam Rippon sums up this entire fiasco pretty well from an emotional level, but if you need a catch-up on WTF is happening here: Russian superstar Kamila Valieva tested positive for now multiple substances that are banned in and out of competition in December but was still permitted to skate in the women’s short program last night because the test results only arrived last week.  The ruling about it this week from the Court of Arbitration for Sport was on, basically, logistics.  Kamila didn’t have enough time to mount a defense of herself, the ruling body said (and please do not let me go down a conspiracy wormhole about why these test results turned up so late). The IOC is still allowed to investigate the fact that she was using a banned substance and if she wins this week, they can still retroactively strip her of any medal, including the Russian team medal; the current ruling is simply confirming that ROC (which, as a reminder, is currently on sanctions because they ran a state-wide doping program) was within their rights to not suspend Valieva despite her failing a drug test. “Wow, maybe Russia shouldn’t be allowed to make those choices for their athletes considering they’re currently on sanctions for doping,” you say? Indeed.

I was looking at my post from the 2018 Olympics to check something recently, and noticed that I wrote that Johnny Weir might need to tone down his Russophilia a bit. Check that off your list, because he and Tara were both VERY emphatic that Kamila should not have skated, period. They also spoke very illuminatingly about how intense the doping controls are in the United States. The words “permanent scar” and “slap in the face” were used. They also both said they felt weird about commenting on her performance, and Johnny literally only weighed in during her skate by identifying jumps and saying, “all I can say is, that was the short program for Kamila Valieva at the Olympics.” They both apologized to the other skaters in the program for what they’re going through, as well. They handled it as well as you could expect. I think they’re sort of in shock.

And EVERYONE is pissed about this other than Russia: The IOC, the ISU, WADA (that’s the World Anti-Doping Agency), basically every other country, and seemingly every living non-Russian skater and coach. (The other two Russian women might actually also be pissed, as far as I know; their coach is probably real distracted right now.) Because of this, there will be no medal ceremony for the Team Competition, denying countless skaters a huge moment they’ve been dreaming of their entire lives, and if Kamila ends up finishing in the top three, there will be no medal ceremony for those women, either. I cannot imagine how upset folks are about being denied that moment that you know they’ve been visualizing their entire lives, and I have to think that all these skaters were really distracted this week, when they needed focus more than ever. This is, in short, a mess. 

But skate in the short program she did, and despite looking a bit shaky at the beginning, Kamila’s still in first place.  She got a decent round of applause when she came out, but she also looked pretty miserable throughout.  Let’s look at costumes? I bring you the top ten women. (Mariah Bell is currently in 11th and Karen Chen is in 13th, and we saw both of their looks when I covered Nationals. They both looked lovely, but they both also unfortunately fell; I’m really sad for Karen that she doesn’t get her medal ceremony moment with the team, and she seemed quite disappointed in her skate. Her short program is really good, I was bummed for her.)

In other bits:

a. The Chinese skater Yi Zhu, who got so much flack from the public in China over her performance in the team competition, skated…okay? I wouldn’t say she looked good but it wasn’t disastrous. (She has a very anxious vibe on the ice, not that I blame her.)

b. The Estonian skater Eva-Lotta Kiibus wears an amazing costume that looks like a stained-glass window and I love that for her! Also extra points for Ekaterina Ryabova, who is dressed like Mardi Gras! It’s so festive.

c. During the team competition, my friend Catherine texted me that the German skater Nicole Schott’s costume looked great on her, and she could envision it on Venus or Serena Williams, and would also look great on them, and I agree. This is still true today!

If you need to catch up with any of the Olympics skating action, all our coverage lives here! Much to discuss. For better or worse.

[Photos: Kommersant Photo Agency/Shutterstock, CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock, ROMAN PILIPEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, YUTAKA/AFLO/Shutterstock, HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Shutterstock, Richard Ellis/UPI/Shutterstock]