International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach blasted the coach of 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva for allegedly berating the girl following her fourth-place performance in Beijing on Thursday.
The cameras at the Olympics caught figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze asking the distraught teenager, “why did you let it go, explain it to me, why … why did you stop fighting,” to which she did not reply. (RELATED: 15-Year-Old Russian Skater Kamila Valieva Cleared To Compete After Testing Positive For Banned Substance)
Bach broke his silence around Valieva, who is currently facing allegations of doping, stating that he felt extremely uncomfortable watching the teenager implode following the performance on Thursday, The New York Times reported.
“You could feel that this is an immense, immense mental stress,” Bach said, according to The New York Times.
“A tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this,” Bach reportedly said referring to the coach and support group for Valieva despite not naming names.
My heart breaks for this young woman. She’s 15. She has not been treated right by the adults in her life. For whatever you might think of Kamila Valieva being permitted to compete (she definitely should not have been permitted), remember that she’s 15. She’s a child.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 17, 2022
Russian officials denounced Bach’s comments, with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko calling the comments “inappropriate and wrong,” according to The New York Times.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov excused the criticism by saying “everyone knows that in elite sports, the coach’s toughness is key to the students’ victories,” according to the AP.
Bach did not pass without scrutiny however, Rob Koehler, a member of the Global Athlete activist group said “this lack of leadership perpetuates athletes abuse and exposes the lack of oversight,” according to the AP. (RELATED: The TV Ratings For The Olympics In Communist China Continue To Crash And Burn)
Ratings for the 2022 Beijing Olympics cratered compared to the PyeongChang winter games in 2018. Leading up to, and during the games, a boycott movement arose due to the Chinese government’s genocidal policies in Xinjiang. The games faced more backlash after athletes were allegedly starved under strict Covid-19 quarantines.