The British journalists who first revealed Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva had failed a drugs test have faced death threats and online abuse since uncovering the news. Duncan Mackay and Michael Pavitt from the ‘Inside the Games’ news website broke the story that she had tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine.
Despite the threats, the journalists have continued to uncover details of the case and today reported on Russian claims that the drug was in Valieva’s system due to the 15-year-old sharing a glass of water with her grandfather, who reportedly uses the medication for a heart condition.
Mackay, turned to Twitter to reassure colleagues. He said: ‘Thanks to everyone for their support, concern and encouragement after it became known how much abuse myself and @michael_pavitt have received since @insidethegames broke the story about #KamilaValieva. Everything is fine. We remain committed to providing the best coverage we can.’
A fellow journalist replied: ‘Duncan ….it’s norm for many journalists who deep dive into issues that have at its core corruption and unethical behaviour….It’s a clear sign that you and your team touched a nerve . Continue to be fearless…Don’t stop at doping ….There are other issues ….’
Despite confirming the positive drug result, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against re-imposing Valieva’s provisional suspension for the doping offence and the 15-year old skater successfully returned to the ice yesterday (Tuesday, 15th) to compete. However, she walked past reporters, shaking her head and saying “thank you” in Russian and did not attend a news conference for the three highest-placed skaters of the day.
On Thursday she will take part in the free skate that will decide the overall figure skating gold – although if she finishes in the top three, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided the medal ceremony must wait until the outcome of the anti-doping investigation.
*The News Media Coalition of major publishers and news agencies continues to raise cases where sports journalists have received physical or online abuse for fulfilling their role of reporting the news.