The most controversial event of the Beijing Winter Olympics wraps up Thursday with the free skate in women’s figure skating. The ROC’s Kamila Valieva is in the lead, as expected, after Tuesday’s short program; the 15-year-old superstar holds a nearly two-point advantage heading into the free skate.
Valieva is the current world record holder in the event and is seen as the heavy favorite to win gold. However, she is at the center of a huge scandal following the disclosure last week that she tested positive for a banned substance in December, leaving many to question why she is being allowed to compete in these games. No flower or medal ceremony will be held if Valieva makes the podium Thursday.
The ROC’s Anna Shcherbakova is currently in second place, and Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto is in third. The USA’s Alysa Liu sits in eighth place, about 10 points out of medal contention.
Olympic figure skating schedule: Thursday, February 17
5:00 a.m. ET Women’s Free Skate, medal event