Russia on Monday welcomed the announcement that its figure skater Kamila Valieva has been cleared to continue competing in the Beijing Olympics despite failing a doping test.
“Tomorrow the whole country will support her and all our wonderful female skaters in the individuals competition,” Russia’s Olympic Committee said on Telegram, calling it the “best news of the day”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was “happy” that the 15-year-old will compete in the individual skating event on Tuesday, where she is a favourite to win gold.
“The whole country hopes Kamila will win,” Peskov told reporters.
Earlier Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said that the teenage athlete could continue competing at the Games despite testing positive in December for a banned substance.
The International Olympics Committee, however, said there will be no medal ceremony for the women’s singles competition if Valieva finishes in the top three.
There will also be no ceremony for the team event, won by Russia last week with Valieva playing a starring role and landing a historic quad jump.
“As for the medal for the team event, we hope that it will soon be awarded,” Peskov added.
Russia is already under sanctions for a massive state-sponsored doping programme that reached its peak at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Russian athletes are allowed to compete as neutrals – without the Russian flag or anthem – if they can prove their doping record is clean.
Mascot cakes land bakers in trouble
Chinese bakers looking to cash in on the popularity of the Beijing Winter Olympics mascot have ended up on thin ice after market authorities cracked down on sweet treats shaped like the cartoon panda.
Officials cited licensing concerns for their swoops on the gastronomic homages to Bing Dwen Dwen, and one case of copyright violations — for producing pirated mascot dolls – has already landed a person in jail.
Depicted in a full-body ice suit, Bing Dwen Dwen has sparked long queues at Olympic souvenir shops – with many willing to fork out more than the official price to get their hands on one amid shortages.
While its name officially means “ice child” in Mandarin, it is more colloquially translated as “ice chubster”. It is often seen alongside Shuey Rhon Rhon, a lantern mascot for the Winter Paralympic Games.
Authorities have said they are investigating several businesses using the Olympics symbols without permission.
One bakery in the southeastern province of Jiangsu was reported for advertising cakes shaped like the rotund panda, and lacked “relevant authorisation”, local officials said Friday.
“A six-inch cake in the shape of Bing Dwen Dwen was found at the scene… the parties made three such cakes, worth 600 yuan ($94),” said the market supervision administration in Nantong city.
State media said authorities had received a “tip-off” about the alleged crime.
A dessert store in the eastern Shantou city was also stopped from selling sweet treats shaped like the mascot and bearing the Olympic rings, another official notice said.
“Intellectual property rights such as patents and copyrights of Bing Dwen Dwen are owned by the Beijing Winter Olympics Organising Committee,” the notice stressed.
Offending bakeries were also reported in other parts of the country, said state media.
With the Lunar New Year coinciding with the start of the Olympics and affecting production of toys in the shape of the mascot, a supply shortage in recent weeks has seen scalpers selling the product for 10 times its original price of 200 yuan ($30), according to reports.
Spectators are largely banned from the Games due to Covid-19 restrictions, and owning the mascot may be the closest most people get to the Beijing Winter Olympics.