Figure Skating Live Results: Overall Standings and Routines

PictureKamila Valieva of Russia took to the ice after days of controversy.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

BEIJING — The applause started out slowly, with just single claps, and then a smattering of them rained down on the teenager alone, so alone, at center ice.

That girl, 15-year-old Kamila Valieva of Russia, had made it through the past week of accusations and insinuations after it was discovered that she had tested positive for a banned heart drug several weeks before the Olympics. She was cleared to skate just a day before Tuesday’s women’s short program at the Beijing Games.

And with some fans in the arena clearly supporting her, she was finally back at the main rink doing what she had come to do. Some say she is so good and performs so effortlessly that she appears born to do it.

With long, beautiful lines and the sublime grace and agility of a prima ballerina, Valieva — for a movingly sad few minutes — floated through most of the routine she performed to “In Memoriam,” as the arena was hushed. She stumbled on her opening jump, a triple axel, a jump she had trouble with during a practice earlier in the day. But she slipped back into character and continued her jumps and spins, as if last week had never happened.

In the end, when the last note of the violin sounded, Valieva struggled to hold back tears. As expected going into this Olympics and even after her testing issues arose, she finished first in the short program, with 82.16 points to lead the field into Thursday’s free skate. The combined score of the short program and the free skate will determine the winner.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Valieva’s Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova scored 80.20 points, for second place. In the surprise of the night, Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto was third, with 79.84 points. The night, as it turned out, had not ended quite as everyone had expected, with the Russians dominating and setting themselves up to sweep the medals.

Alexandra Trusova, the third Russian skater, was fourth after falling on her triple axel. She sat stone-faced and frozen in the area where skaters wait for their scores. She scored 74.60 points, and is sitting just off the medals stand as the women go into the free skate.

Because of Valieva, a medal ceremony may not take place.

If she goes on to win or place in the top three in this event, there will be no medal ceremony for any of the winners — not even a ceremony where medalists are awarded stuffed Olympic panda mascots — because her doping case is under investigation. Early Tuesday, an Olympic official told The Associated Press and other media outlets that Valieva has blamed the positive test result on drug medication that her grandfather was taking.

Critics, including the 2018 Olympic medalist Adam Rippon, have said Valieva’s presence in the event has ruined everything, including the integrity of the event and the Olympic experience for all of the skaters, who now must compete while one of the biggest scandals in recent Olympic history unfolds around them.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“It’s a joke, now this is a joke,” said Rippon, who coaches the American Mariah Bell, before the short program. “I don’t know how anybody watches this without in the back of their mind saying, this girl, whatever medal she wins, it most likely will be stripped. What’s the point of having an event like this?”

South Korea’s Yuna Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion, posted on her Instagram page that she also disagreed with Valieva’s continuing to compete in the Games.

“Athlete who violates doping cannot compete in the game,” she wrote. “This principle must be observed without exception. All players’ efforts and dreams are equally precious.”

Alysa Liu, who finished eighth, was the top American in the short program. Bell was next, finishing 11th. Karen Chen, in her second Olympics, ended up a very disappointing 12th after falling on her final triple jump. She was fourth at last year’s world championships.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Bell also had one fall in her short program. Afterward, in response to questions about Valieva and the doping case, she said she wanted to focus on her skating instead. But she did say a cancellation of the medals ceremony for the team event would be upsetting.

Bell, 25, is the oldest American woman to compete in Olympic figure skating since 1928. She wasn’t chosen to compete in the team event and instead cheered on her teammates from the stands as they performed and then won a silver medal while the Russians wongold.

“Obviously, I feel sad for my teammates,” Bell said. “It seems wrong to punish people who have done things the right way.”

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