The International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, has slammed Kamila Valieva’s coaches for their reaction to her free skate performance.
Valieva’s name has swept the headlines after she returned a positive drugs test, before being cleared to continue competing.
She had already helped the Russian Olympic Committee to a team gold before putting herself in pole position for an individual gold.
But amid the pressure, and with all eyes on her going into the free skate, multiple tumbles on the ice saw Valieva subsequently finish outside the medals.
The 15-year-old sobbed as she waited for her score, prompting Bach to criticise the response of her coaches.
He describe their behaviour towards the teenager as ‘disturbing’.
“I must say I was very, very disturbed when I watched the competition on TV,” Bach told reporters. “First in her performance, how high the pressure on her must have been […] in particular for a girl of 15 years old.
“To see her there struggling on the ice, seeing how she tries to compose herself again.”
The first thing Valieva was greeted with when she came off the ice was “why did you stop fighting?” from coach Eteri Tutberidze.
“I afterwards saw how she was received by her closest entourage with that appeared to be a tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this, rather than giving her comfort, rather than try to help her.”
Bach added: “You could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance and if you were interpreting the body language of them, it got even worse because this was even some kind of dismissive gestures I saw there on TV.”
The IOC President says he has little confidence in the closest entourage of Valieva and their ability to “deal with, how to address and how to treat a minor athlete at the age of 15 under such an obvious mental stress”.
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