“It is absolutely impossible to achieve such perfection using unfair methods, with the help of additional materials and manipulations,” the Russian president said on Tuesday.
“There is no place for such additional methods in figure skating and we all know and understand them well,” Putin said at a ceremony to award Russia the winners of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games on Tuesday.
Although the 15-year-old failed a drug test in December, before the Olympics, the result only came to light during the competition when it was analyzed and reported to Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in February.
She was later acquitted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for competing in the women’s singles figure skating competition during which she fell multiple times, leaving the ice in tears, and eventually finished fourth.
Valeeva blamed the positive test on mixing it with her grandfather’s medication, using trimetazidine in case of his heart.
Russia’s history of doping is well documented. In 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russian athletes from participating in international competitions due to doping violations. On appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the Russian athletes could compete but present themselves as “neutral athletes” unable to use the Russian name, flag or anthem.
“The whole country, as well as fans of figure skating around the world, are returning to Camilla,” Putin said on Tuesday, according to TASS.
“She has been able to synthesize her talent, all the elements of the most intricate figure skating, her grace, beauty, strength and tenderness, as well as her tireless work to bring the sport to the level of true art,” he said.
Putin’s comments came as the sports world continues to shun Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.