'Never happen again': Ex-champ's scathing Winter Olympics callout
Former figure skating Olympic champion Aljona Savchenko launched a scathing attack after watching 15-year-old Kamila Valieva leave the ice in tears after a harrowing Winter Games experience.
Valieva's Winter Olympics has been overshadowed after the teenager failed a doping test before her competition, but was allowed to compete in extraordinary circumstances.
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The drama surrounding the teenager and her coaches came under heavy scrutiny with other athletes and former champions declaring she shouldn't be able to compete.
Valieva then was reduced to tears after falling several times in the finale of a women's figure skating event she was favoured to win gold in.
In scenes that IOC president Thomas Bach has described as 'chilling', Valieva proceeded to be berated by Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze after the unusual stumbles that saw her end up finishing outside the medals in fourth place.
And following the hard-to-watch scenes, former champion Savchenko said she shed a tear for Valieva after watching it unfold.
“Honestly, I cried yesterday, not from joy but from sadness,” Savchenko told Eurosport.
“This is a child, 15 years old, standing there in front of the whole world. This is an incredible burden for a child. I wouldn't let her run at all and just protect her.
“What happened yesterday must never happen again. It not only hurts the sport, it hurts the Olympic feeling, the Olympic dream, which is what everybody wants."
Champion calls for Kamila Valieva change
Much of the outrage has been directed at Valieva's team considering the age of the figure skating star.
And Savchenko called for a change to the rules to stop young skater's being thrown into the spotlight on the world stage.
She also called for Valieva - who she knows personally - to "find a new team" after watching her being berated right after her skate.
“Something has to happen. You can't let it happen like that. Even I, as a spectator, was in pain," she said.
"Your protégé is your child and sometimes the child has more trust in the coach than in his own parents."
IOC boss Bach admits that he was left "very disturbed" by the scenes and questioned why Valieva's coach and the rest of her entourage was so "cold" towards the 15-year-old.
“I was very disturbed when I watched it on TV,” Bach said.
“When I saw how she was received by the closest entourage with such a tremendous coolness, it was chilling to see this.”
Valieva's were far from the only tears on the ice on Thursday night, with fellow Russian Alexandra Trusova devastated after compatriot Anna Shcherbakova pipped her to gold.
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