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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were understandably relieved when Russian Olympics Committee figure skater Kamila Valieva, 15, failed to medal in her free skate on February. 17. Kamila — whose doping scandal has caused controversy in the 2022 Winter Olympics — finished fourth in her performance, which Tara, 39, and Johnny, 37, immediately reacted to as NBC Sports commentators.
“There will be a gold, silver, and a bronze medal in the women’s event in Beijing,” co-commentator Terry Gannon said, to which Johnny responded, “Thank god.” Tara chimed in to say, “Thank goodness for all the other medalists to have that moment, and to have done it cleanly.”
Had Kamila earned a medal, there would not have been a podium ceremony due to her doping scandal. The skate’s gold medal winner was Kamila’s teammate, Anna Scherbakova, while Alexandra Trusova, also of the ROC, took home silver. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto won bronze over Kamila, who stumbled during her performance. The teenager was seen sobbing when the scores were read.
KAMILA VALIEVA IN DISTRESS AS SHE STUMBLES SEVERAL TIMES & FALLS ON THE ICE
(4th. Place award) pic.twitter.com/RAGWk4ab8i
— Patrick Emek (@14wombat1) February 17, 2022
Right before Kamila skated, Johnny and Tara had a lot to say about her scandal. “I can’t imagine how tough this has been on Kamila and it makes me angry that the adults around her weren’t able to make better decisions and guide her and be there for her because she’s the one now dealing with the consequences and she’s just 15 and that’s not fair,” Tara said. After Kamila’s fourth-place routine, during which the pair pretty much stayed silent aside from noting the jumps she was doing, Johnny told viewers, “Most mistakes I’ve ever seen Kamila make in a free skate.”
Johnny also shared a Twitter video after the women’s free skate which he called “the most bizarre and heartbreaking event” he’s ever seen. “I hope it’s never repeated,” he added.
Thank you. 🤍 pic.twitter.com/0G4tr9g6DY
— Johnny Weir (@JohnnyGWeir) February 17, 2022
Johnny and Tara similarly didn’t speak when Kamila got the top score in her short program on Tuesday. “All I feel I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valieva at the Olympics,” Johnny said to break the silence, while Tara reiterated her angry feelings on the scandal. “She had a positive test. We should not have seen this skate.”
As many know, Kamila tested positive for the banned substance Trimetazidine on Feb. 8, but was cleared to keep competing by the Court of Arbitration for Sports. Other former U.S. figure skaters like Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu had similarly expressed outrage about Kamila’s participation in Beijing.