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Olympics TV Host Adnan Virk Talks Kamila Valieva’s ‘Unreal’ Quad Jump And Drug Test Results For Figure Skating



(Image credit: Peacock)

The 2022 Winter Olympics brought the best of the best athletes from all over the world to Beijing to compete for a shot at a medal, and viewers have had plenty of options to check out new and familiar cold-weather events. With the highly-anticipated women’s free skate clouded by controversy over the 15-year-old Russian Kamila Valieva, however, there are plenty of questions about what happens next. Olympics TV host and prolific sports broadcaster Adnan Virk, who has been keeping viewers on top of the events daily with Peacock’s Winter Gold, spoke with CinemaBlend and weighed in on the situation and overall story with figure skating. 

Kamila Valieva was part of the Russian Olympic Committee team that won gold in figure skating’s team event, but that medal ceremony didn’t happen after it was revealed that she tested positive for a banned substance called trimetazidine. It was a major twist on a story that had originally been largely celebratory, as Valieva had made history as the first woman to land a quad jump in an Olympic. Adnan Virk commented on what the Olympics can reveal about athletes in their highs and their lows:

To me, the Olympics are all about storytelling. You know, it’s great stories. You don’t know these people prior to 16 days of these events, but by the end you feel like you’ve lived with them. And one thing with the camera is it does not lie. So when there’s a triumph, you see it. When there’s despair, you see that as well. But I tend to focus on the positive moments and just seeing athletes rise to the occasion and being supported by their loved ones.

The figure skating portion of the Olympics is always popular among viewers, so it’s not surprising that there are strong feelings about Kamila Valieva both for making history by landing her quad jump in the team event and with the positive drug test. The big question was whether that positive result would result in her being cut from the individual event, as the team event ceremony that would have awarded the ROC athletes their gold medals was cancelled. 

The answer to that question is one that wasn’t received well by a number of former Olympians, including Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who have gone on to provide figure skating commentary for NBC after retiring from the sport. Valieva was approved to compete in the individual event, and plenty of fans will undoubtedly be glued to Olympics coverage to see what happens when the female singles skaters take the ice and the plot thickens. When I noted that the storytelling for the athletes as people can help viewers find favorites even outside of their own countries, Adnan Virk said: 

Naturally speaking, people living in America are going to be cheering for Americans, of course, but most of us are immigrants, most of us have family from somewhere. So if someone’s got family that’s Norwegian or Swedish or Finnish. You know, a neighbor, a friend, somebody at work. ‘Okay, we’ll be happy about this!’ You can always find rooting interest everywhere if you’re just a fan of that country. I just always found Russian athletes fascinating. In figure skating, they’re phenomenal. You know, this whole story involving Kamila Valieva, now she’s going to skate on Tuesday in the women’s free skate and she’s the first one ever to land a quad [at the Olympics]. It’s unreal. And then the story comes out that apparently she tested positive for a banned substance prior to the Olympics, and she is going to skate Tuesday. But if she medals, and she almost certainly will win a gold medal, they’re not going to have a medal ceremony. Like, it’s fascinating. Again, it’s great storytelling.

According to the Winter Gold host, Kamila Valieva is expected to win the gold medal in the women’s singles event starting on February 15, and that would just make the situation even stickier. If she places in the top three and would have earned herself a place on a podium under normal circumstances, the Olympics simply won’t have a medal ceremony. As if the stakes weren’t already high enough for the event, the story is guaranteed to have people all over the world invested in what happens for the female figure skaters in Beijing. Even if the reason for the heightened interest in figure skating isn’t ideal, it’s safe to say that the women’s free skate could be one of the most talked-about events of the entire 2022 Olympics. 

As the host of Peacock’s Winter Gold, which provides a comprehensive look at the events of the day (plus interviews with former Olympians), Adnan Virk has covered enough events that he can pick some personal standout competitors, including the ROC’s cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov, Norwegian cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug, Japanese ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi, American snowboarders Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner, and American bobsledder Kaillie Humphries as well as Kamila Valieva with her quad despite the drug test results. He explained:

Unfortunately, the story about the drug test has tarnished her a little bit, but I’ve never seen a female do a quad. Never happened before. Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski were saying on the broadcast, ‘She’s going to be the greatest female figure skater ever.’ And she’s 15! It’s insane. When I was 15, I was working at McDonald’s, and she’s out there at the Olympics. It’s incredible.

The women’s figure skating event will air on NBC in primetime on Tuesday, February 15, and you can find the overall Olympic highlights with new episodes of Winter Gold, hosted by Adnan Virk, streaming on Peacock from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET daily. If you missed any Olympics action so far, every episode of Winter Gold so far is available streaming as well. As Virk said, there are undoubtedly still “some more great moments to come.” The 2022 TV schedule will get back to business as usual in the not-too-distant future, but there is still plenty of Olympic competition in Beijing left before the closing ceremony, so be sure to check out your options!

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.

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