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Controversial Russian Figure Skater Stumbles to 4th Place

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Anna Shcherbakova of the Russian Olympic Committee smiles after competing in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing.

Russia’s Kamila Valieva fell several times and failed to medal in the women’s individual figure skating event Thursday at the Beijing Winter Games.

She has been at the center of a doping scandal since leading her country to first place in the team figure skating event.

The 15-year-old tested positive for a banned heart medication last December, but the result was not announced until last week. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled she could compete in Thursday’s individual event.

Her failure to medal means there will be a medal presentation ceremony. The International Olympic Committee had said there wouldn’t be a flower ceremony until results of an investigation were known if Valieva placed among the top three finishers.

Valieva’s compatriot Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal with a total score of 255.95. Fellow Russian Alexandra Trusova took the silver with 251.73 and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto came in third with 233.13

Japanese speed skater Miho Takagi set an Olympic record Thursday at the Beijing Winter Games when she won the women’s 1,000-meter race.

Takagi crossed the finish line at 1 minute, 13.19 seconds, six-tenths of a second faster than silver medalist Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands. Brittany Bowe of the United States finished in third place to take the bronze.

Earlier Thursday, Canada defeated the United States 3-2 in the gold medal game in women’s hockey, avenging their upset loss to the Americans four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The two nations have dominated the event since it was introduced at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Silver medalists USA attend the victory ceremony of the women's ice hockey competition during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing on Feb. 17, 2022.
Silver medalists USA attend the victory ceremony of the women's ice hockey competition during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing on Feb. 17, 2022.

Canada has now won five gold medals in the sport, compared to two for the United States. The Americans settled for silver for the fourth time since 1998. Finland beat Switzerland Wednesday in the bronze medal game.

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin will leave Beijing without an individual medal after failing to complete the slalom portion of the women’s Alpine combined event Thursday.

Michele Gisin of Switzerland won the gold medal in the combined event, with teammate Wendy Holdener coming in second to win the silver medal, while Federica Brignone of Italy took home the bronze.

FILE - Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States walks from the finish area after a training run at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.
FILE - Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States walks from the finish area after a training run at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.

The 26-year-old Shiffrin, considered by many to be one of the best Alpine skiers of her generation, came up short in all five events she entered, failing to finish in two of her earlier events. Shiffrin will ski one final time Saturday when she takes part in the mixed team event.

In freestyle skiing, Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund won the gold medal in the women’s ski cross race, continuing her dominant stature in the event that includes 10 World Cup victories this season. Canada’s Marielle Thompson, the 2014 gold medalist, won the silver medal. Daniela Maier of Germany was awarded the bronze medal after race officials determined that Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, who initially crossed the line in third place, interfered with Maier. Smith was then demoted to fourth place.

Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's short program during the figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, in Beijing, China, Feb. 15, 2022.
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's short program during the figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, in Beijing, China, Feb. 15, 2022.

Russia’s Kamila Valieva will take part in the final round of the women’s individual figure skating event Thursday. Valieva has been at the center of a doping scandal since leading her country to first place in the team figure skating event.

The 15-year-old tested positive for a banned heart medication last December, but the result was not announced until last week. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled she could compete in the individual event.

The International Olympic Committee has said there will be no flower ceremony if Valieva places among the top three finishers after Thursday’s final round. There also will be no medal ceremony for the team skaters until an investigation has been completed.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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