Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva can compete in the Olympic women's event from Tuesday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the lifting of a provisional suspension in connection with a positive doping test.
The urgent CAS decision permits the 15-year-old to enter the singles event at the Beijing Games, which starts Tuesday, after appeals from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the governing skating body (ISU) were dismissed.
"The CAS panel in charge of this matter has decided to let Miss Valieva continue her participation in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," CAS's director general Matthieu Reeb said Monday.
"It means that no provisional suspension should be imposed on the skater."
Valieva's "exceptional circumstances" were key to the decision, said the CAS three-man panel which heard what they acknowledged were the "very limited facts of this case."
Two of the four reasons given emphasized her "protected person" status as a minor under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and the lack of clear rules for suspending a minor while there are specific provisions for different standards of evidence and for lower sanctions in the case of protected persons.
The panel also "considered fundamental principles of fairness, proportionality, irreparable harm, and the relative balance of interests" between Valieva and the appealing parties, and the "serious issues of untimely notification of the results" which impeded Valieva's "ability to establish certain legal requirements for her benefit while such late notification was not her fault."
A Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of the Russian anti-doping body RUSADA lifted a suspension imposed on Valieva last week after she tested positive for the prohibited heart medicine trimetazidine in a sample taken December 25.
The test result arrived after Valieva had led the Russian Olympic Committee to first place in last Monday's team event.
But the medal ceremony has been suspended and a final decision is only to come once the full case has been dealt with by the International Testing Agency, which could be after the Games close on February 20.
"For us and for all of you, this is an unsatisfactory situation," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in a briefing before the decision was made public. "We would have liked, and have asked, for the parties to agree to have the whole case in its entirety... been settled once and for all before this competition starts.
"Unfortunately the parties haven't agreed on this, and this is why we are left in this difficult dilemma with regards with the topic which concerns us here also, the victory ceremony, not just taking part in the events which start tomorrow," Adams told reporters.
A doping offence
"Let me also remind you that if CAS decides to let this athlete, Kamila Valieva, start tomorrow, it does not mean - on the one hand - that she has not committed a doping offence. And at the same time, if CAS decides to not let her start it does not mean that the doping offence has been confirmed."
The CAS has an ad hoc division in Beijing to hear urgent cases and heard from all parties by in a five-and-a-half hour video conference late Sunday.
The teenage prodigy became the first female skater to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics in leading Russia to team victory over the United States, Japan and Canada in fourth.
She is considered favourite for the individual event which has the short programme on Tuesday and concludes with free skating Thursday.
She was permitted to continue training due to the lifting of her suspension but it remains to be seen how she copes with the mental strain of the situation.
Valieva's coach Eteri Tutberidze told Russian television she believed her athlete is "clean and innocent." Tutberidze and others in Valieva's entourage now face investigation by RUSADA and reportedly from WADA as well.
Russia is not competing as a nation at the Beijing Games with its national flag and anthem because of sanctions in connection with past doping practices in the country.