Four-year suspension for ‘Russian fairy’ Valieva prompts tears; coach dubbed ‘empress’ for calling athletes ‘materials’ | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Four-year suspension for ‘Russian fairy’ Valieva prompts tears; coach dubbed ‘empress’ for calling athletes ‘materials’

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Tutvelyse chastises Waliyeva after her free skate at the Beijing Olympics (Image: Kyodo News)

“There is no justice in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Trash, scum! Kamila is strong, smart, beautiful, and talented. You bastards!”

The outspoken comments were made by Tatiana Tarasova, a prominent figure skating coach who has coached athletes like Shizuka Arakawa and Mao Asada in Japan. She expressed her outrage regarding the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision on January 29th, which handed a four-year suspension to Kamila Valieva, often dubbed as “Russia’s fairy.” Valieva tested positive for doping during the 2022 Beijing Olympics.


“The CAS decided on a harsh penalty, stating ‘inability to prove unintended ingestion.’ On the other hand, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency acknowledged the drug use but argued that Valieva was not at fault. They were seeking only disqualification from the 2021 Russian Championships.” (Sports newspaper correspondent)

“The current scandal does not solely revolve around Valieva herself. It’s deeply intertwined with the strong influence of Eteri Tutberidze, her coach known as the ‘Empress’ for her strict coaching style. Furthermore, the overall culture within the Russian sports community is also being called into question.

‘FRIDAY Digital’ extensively covered Tutberidze’s scolding of Valieva and the doping allegations that brought her to tears after the events of the Beijing Olympics on February 18, 2022. We would like to revisit this, shedding light on the background of the controversy that has now engulfed the world (with some modifications to the original content).”


“Why did you give up?”


“Why did you give up? Why did you stop fighting? Please explain.”

The coach showed no mercy to the crestfallen girl.

On February 17, 2022, the women’s singles figure skating event at the Beijing Winter Olympics concluded. Valieva, from Russia, who has been condemned worldwide for doping allegations, made numerous mistakes during her free skate. She repeatedly fell during consecutive jumps and ended up in fourth place. Valieva, who was hailed as despair by her rivals due to her overwhelming strength, collapsed in tears upon learning her placement. However,

“Coach Tutberidze was indeed harsh. Instead of comforting Valieva, as soon as she returned to the rink, she was sternly questioned, ‘Why did you give up?’ Valieva couldn’t give a clear answer and continued to cry with a look of regret.

Both first and second place were taken by Russian athletes, but there was a tense atmosphere after the competition. Alexandra Trusova, who won the silver medal, refused a hug from Tutberidze and expressed her dissatisfaction to the press, saying, ‘I hate this sport so much! I won’t stand on the ice anymore.’ She continued, ‘I’m not happy with the result at all. I’m not happy. I want to think carefully about the future before deciding.'” (Reporter who conducted the interview)


Coach Tutberidze is an absolute leader known as the “Empress” or “Ice Queen” in Russia. Among her students are prominent athletes like the gold medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Alina Zagitova, and the silver medalist, Evgenia Medvedeva. However, many athletes have dropped out due to Tutberidze’s rigorous coaching methods.

“Tutberidze refers to the training rink as a ‘factory’ and the athletes as ‘materials,’ subjecting them to thorough management and guidance even in their personal lives, including makeup, walking, and speaking. In an interview with a Russian television station before the Beijing Olympics, she stated, ‘Without strict guidance, you can’t win medals. If the athletes don’t perform as I want them to, I feel very frustrated and scold them.’

When Medvedeva made mistakes during practice jumps, she reprimanded her saying, ‘Do you enjoy failing? Then let me help you fall.’ Zagitova, who received Tutberidze’s coaching, expressed, ‘I’m always anxious. I’m burnt out,’ after the Pyeongchang Olympics and temporarily withdrew from competition. In May of last year, she was removed from Russia’s designated elite athlete list.” (Same source)

Tutberidze was born in 1974 during the era of the former Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she moved to the United States in 1992 to gain coaching experience before returning to Russia in 1999.

Lower the underwear to below the knees


“Tutberidze is a single mother, and her daughter, Diana Davis, is also an ice dance athlete. As a coach, she shows no mercy even to her daughter. She has been taking her daughter to the rink since she was two years old, and if she doesn’t skate as instructed, she berates her loudly. Thanks to this, Davis achieved second place in the Russian Championships in December 2021 and qualified for the Beijing Olympics. There were rumors that she wouldn’t hesitate to use drugs to make her athletes stronger.” (Skating federation official)

Even Valieva, who is at the center of the controversy, became a world-class athlete under Tutberidze’s guidance. However, due to the doping scandal, she expressed to the Russian media, “These past few days have been emotionally challenging. I am mentally exhausted,” indicating how worn out she was. In the end, she faced a harsh future with a four-year ban from competition.

“Despite the unresolved doping allegations, there was widespread criticism from around the world for competing in the competition. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) lodged a complaint and appealed to CAS, prolonging the situation, and Valieva underwent multiple tests.

According to testimonies from several athletes, the testing process is humiliating. Urine samples are collected by inspectors of the same gender. There is a fear of swapping samples with others, so one must urinate in front of the inspectors. Clothes are pulled up to the chest, and underwear is lowered below the knees.” (From the previous journalist)

Valieva, who was manipulated by adults’ interests. If Russia appeals the CAS decision, the situation could further deteriorate into a quagmire.

  • Photo Kyodo News

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