Some Think Kamila Valieva Was Forced to Fall on Purpose During Her Free Skate


Feb. 18 2022, Published 11:49 a.m. ET

The women's figure skating competition has been mired in controversy throughout the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Kamila Valieva, the undisputed queen of the sport who is also just 15 years old, was mired in a doping scandal that overshadowed her incredible skill. Kamila fell during the free skate competition, and ultimately wound up missing the podium altogether and placing fourth. Now, some are wondering whether the fall was intentional.

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Did Kamila Valieva fall on purpose?

Ever since Kamila fell, there has been speculation that she was told to do so by Russian authorities in order to downplay the scandal and keep her from medaling. Although it's impossible to say whether these allegations are true, Kamila would have had to put on a pretty convincing performance in the aftermath of her fall. As she posed at the end of her skate, it was clear that she was holding back tears.

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What's more, as The New York Times has since reported, her coach was confused about Kamila's performance in the event. “Why did you let it go?” Eteri Tutberidze, her coach, asked following the event. “Why did you stop fighting? Explain it to me, why? You let it go after that axel.”

Kamila reportedly didn't answer, but it was clear that she was distraught following her fall.

Reddit's moderators have banned these questions.

Classifying the idea that Kamila fell on purpose as a conspiracy theory, Reddit has prevented users from discussing the idea that she fell intentionally. These theories could also have negative impacts for Kamila, who attempted all of her jumps and was clearly trying to compete at her usual, high level.

"My take is it’s more likely stress/anxiety than her throwing it," one person wrote on Reddit.

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"People think this stuff is easy for them to do so they can’t possibly have this bad a skate even if stressed," the poster continued. "No. Without proper concentration and relaxation, it’s very easy to tense up physically and screw up things you normally do well when relaxed and focused."

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The decision to allow Kamila to compete was unfair to everyone.

As the NBC broadcast of the free skate made clear, the decision to allow Kamila to compete was hugely unfair. It was unfair to Kamila, who had to skate under the weight of scandal and with the knowledge that she may not be awarded a medal even if she won. It was unfair to her fellow competitors, who had passed their drug tests. And it was unfair to viewers who had the entire competition clouded for them.

Kamila is not to blame for the doping scandal, although she is obviously central to it. She's a 15-year-old girl, and it's the adults around her who have contributed to the environment that she found herself in during the free skate competition. The Russians may not have forced her to take a fall, but they also didn't help her to succeed. As a result, the entire free skating event was tainted.

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