Chinese fans still support Kamila Valieva despite doping incident
Published: Feb 16, 2022 12:44 AM
Kamila Valieva Photo: Li Hao/GT

Kamila Valieva Photo: Li Hao/GT

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to continue competing at Beijing 2022 after the recent drug controversy, and the 15-year-old has retained her massive popularity on Chinese social media. 
But the doping incident is not yet over, as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Monday that there will be no medal ceremony even if Valieva places in the top three, as a full investigation must be conducted first. 
Valieva has won millions of Chinese fans thanks to her figure skating brilliance, with hashtags concerning the young skater reaching 600 million views on Sina Weibo.
"She is known for her artistic appeal. But she has done an excellent job in terms of technical levels as well," one figure skating fan named Zou Ming told the Global Times. "She has combined moves from ballet, drama and paintings, which is incredible."
The doping incident caused astonishment among some figure skating fans, but many wanted to defend the young ice dancer, with some suggesting it was just a US conspiracy to smear Russian athletes. 
There has been support on Sina Weibo, with many fans choosing to keep supporting Valieva until the investigation is completed. 
"Valieva has only become a target because of her outstanding achievements," said a fan on Weibo. Valieva won a gold medal for women's single skating on February 7.
There has also been criticism from fans toward Valieva's coach, Eteri Tutberidze, who has been accused of dereliction of duty and failure to protect the young skater.
Analysts said there is a "bright side" at the moment, as the skating prodigy has been allowed to continue her Olympic journey.

However, "the journey might not be as long as her fans think due to the fierce competition inside Russian figure skating," Shen Yi, professor of public relations at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Some analysts said the enduring support for Valieva in China is partly down to close relations with Russia, as well as the decades-long popularity of Russian ballet dancing in China. 
And the support for Valieva is not the only example of appreciation for foreign athletes.
The Chinese Embassy in Japan told the Global Times in an interview on Monday that the friendly interaction between Chinese skater Jin Boyang and world-famous Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu had sparked heated discussion among both Chinese and Japanese skating fans.
It highlights the great attention of the two countries toward the Beijing Olympics and the common love for ice and snow sports, the embassy noted.