Kamila Valieva blamed her failing drug test on grandfather’s strawberry pie

A strawberry pie poisoned by her grandfather’s heart medication may have caused Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s positive drug test, according to her attorneys before the sport’s highest court, which rejected the explanation and banned her for four years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport issued on Wednesday the 129-page thorough opinion from its three judges explaining why they imposed the suspension on Valieva last week, whose doping case at the age of 15 startled the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The word “strawberry” appears 43 times in the text explaining why the judges rejected the case.

The CAS judges were urged to assume Valieva’s grandfather “accidentally dropped a pill into the dessert while he was preparing it or because there were crushed residues of a (trimetazidine) tablet on the chopping board he used to prepare the dessert.”

“There are too many shortcomings in the evidence, and too many unanswered questions, for the panel to decide that her account is more likely than not,” the judges stated in their decision.

Valieva tested positive for the banned cardiac medicine in a sample administered at the Russian championships on December 25, 2021. The test results were not transmitted from a laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, until six weeks later, during the Beijing Olympics.

Valieva had already skated in the team event, helping the Russians win gold, and was permitted to compete in the women’s individual event. Under intensive examination, her error-filled free skate put her to fourth place.

Athletes who test positive for doping may avoid a ban if they later demonstrate that they were not at fault for consuming a chemical.

During the Olympics, Valieva’s lawyers explained that she had been accidently poisoned by her grandfather’s prescription at her family’s Moscow residence.

More information was provided to CAS during appeal hearings held in separate sessions in Lausanne, Switzerland, in September and November of last year.

It was stated in court that Valieva’s grandfather made the strawberry dessert in the days leading up to the national finals for her to take to St. Petersburg.

“There is no other evidence — beyond his own assertion — that he can provide as to this claim,” the court’s verdict said. “Nor is there other evidence — beyond his own assertion — that he was using TMZ at the time.”

The CAS justices upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal, which sought a four-year penalty and the revocation of her results after a Russian panel exonerated Valieva of guilt.

The International Skating Union removed the Russian team of its Olympic championship and crowned the US champions. Following the removal of Valieva’s scores, Japan was promoted to silver and Russia was downgraded to bronze.

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