NBC skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir didn’t shy away from addressing the elephant in the room when Russian skater Kamila Valieva took the ice on Tuesday night. In fact, they made it clear they were outright disappointed to see her perform.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication earlier this week, following a test taken on Dec. 25. Primarily due to her age, Valieva was not banned from competition. If she makes the podium — a definite possibility, since she posted an 82.16 on Tuesday night, putting her in first place — there will be no medal ceremony. But, Lipinski and Weir wanted to reiterate that, in any other case, Valieva wouldn’t have been there at all — and they would’ve preferred that.
You can watch the moment in the video below.
“All I feel like I can say is that was the short program of Kamila Valieva at the Olympics,” Weir said curtly after her performance, offering no commentary otherwise.
“And for all the other Olympic athletes skating here, I feel I need to say again that she had a positive test,” Lipinski added. “We should not have seen this skate and –“
“We are so sorry it’s overshadowing your Olympics,” Weir finished for her.
Lipinski then added one more piece, saying that she was having trouble reconciling her past appreciation for Valieva with what was revealed this week.
“I don’t know how many times over the past year I’ve said that she is the best figure skater I have ever seen,” Lipinski said. “And just saying that now, not only makes me confused, but it makes me angry, and again, disoriented by everything I thought that I knew.”
A member of the International Olympic Committee said Valieva’s legal team said her positive test might have been due to “contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking,” per The Guardian.