Out former Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir – who has been commentating this year’s Winter Games alongside fellow former Olympian Tara Lipinski – said he cried after covering the performance of 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva, who failed a drug test but was allowed to compete anyway.
On NBC, Weir spoke about the “very emotional journey” he and Lipinski had in reporting Valieva’s performance.
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The pair, known for being especially chatty, made waves for barely speaking at all during her skate.
“I walked out of calling the short program yesterday and sat outside and cried because it’s such a terrible situation to watch unfold,” Weir said. “For a 15-year-old to have the weight of the world on their shoulders and then to have to condemn everything surrounding her.”
“She is so talented that we, as well as many people, thought that she would be the Olympic gold medalist here. And now to have to reevaluate everything you thought about that. It’s just a nightmare.”
Weir also posted a video to Twitter calling it “the hardest event I’ve ever had to cover.”
“I want to thank you all for supporting the skaters that should be in this competition,” he said.
After Valieva failed the drug trust, the Court of Arbitration for Sport determined she could still compete, concluding that barring her before a full investigation “would cause her irreparable harm.” They were also more lenient because she is a minor.
The International Olympic Committee also said, however, that if she finished in the top three, there would be no medal ceremony, as placement could not be confirmed until there was a full investigation. They also said a team event that Russia already won would not have a medal ceremony.
The decision caused massive controversy among athletes.
Out sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson called out the International Olympic Committee, since she was banned from competing for using marijuana legally.
“The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady,” Richardson tweeted.
Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines? My mother died and I can’t run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I’m a black young lady. https://t.co/JtUfmp3F8L
— Sha’Carri Richardson (@itskerrii) February 14, 2022
“If they are truly worried about the irreparable harm, set her up with proper counseling to deal with the incredibly sad situation she finds herself in and SEND HER HOME,” tweeted out skater Adam Rippon. “The irreparable harm that will be done is to the entire Olympic Games. She shouldn’t be allowed to compete.
If they are truly worried about the irreparable harm, set her up with proper counseling to deal with the incredibly sad situation she finds herself in and SEND HER HOME. The irreparable harm that will be done is to the entire Olympic Games. She shouldn’t be allowed to compete. https://t.co/6CjoRJ8l0B
— Adam Rippon (@AdamRippon) February 14, 2022