All eyes will be on Kamila Valieva at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Tuesday.
In a controversial decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the 15-year-old does not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full investigation into a failed drug test that came prior to the Games. The test result came from Dec. 25 at Russian nationals and did not come to light until after Valieva helped lead the Russian Olympic Committee to a dominant gold medal victory in the team competition.
Valieva’s next skate will come in the women’s short program, which begins at 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The top 24 skaters will advance to the free skate at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday.
With Valieva cleared to compete, the question becomes if any skater can prevent her from winning gold.
Valieva obliterated the field in her skates during the team competition. She was more than 15 points above the next-closest skater in the short program and 30 points clear of second place in the free skate. Along the way, she made history as the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics.
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Two skaters from Japan placed second in the respective team competition events. Wakaba Higuchi skated in the short program, while Kaori Sakamoto performed in the free skate.
Team USA was further down on the leaderboard in those events. Karen Chen placed fifth in the short program and fourth in the free skate. She will be joined by two more Team USA representatives, Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell, in the singles event.
Valieva’s toughest competition will likely come from her own country. Valieva, Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova all share the same coach, Eteri Tutberidze, and can give the ROC a sweep of the podium. Shcherbakova placed first at the 2021 World Championships, while Trusova came in third.
The country is aiming for its third straight gold in women’s singles. It took the top two spots at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics as Alina Zagitova won gold and Yevgenia Medvedeva won silver while competing as Olympic Athletes from Russia. In 2014, Adelina Sotnikova won gold on home ice in Sochi.
If Valieva wins gold or any other medal in women’s singles, there will not be a ceremony, the International Olympic Committee confirmed. The medal ceremony for the team competition was postponed, as well.