By that time, several members of the Russian battalion were in tears, including not only Valeeva but also the silver medalist, Alexandra Trusova. In seconds, the scene at the edge of the rink quickly turned into a haze of disparate emotions — crushing disappointment, intense frustration, and incalculable pain — as the doping scandal and the stress of years of training unleashed from several masked teens at once.
“I hate that!” Trusova was seen on camera saying. “I never want to do anything in figure skating in my life! Everyone has a gold medal, and I don’t!”
Valeeva’s two Russian teammates, Shcherbakova and Trusova, seemed to struggle to deal with the news of their gold and silver medal wins, but their personal moments of victory were marred by the chaotic scene. Shcherbakova, 17, seemed unwilling – or unable – to party with 15-year-old Valeeva just yards away. Trosova, 17, suggested, at least initially, that she did not want to participate in the victory ceremony.
Nearby, Japanese bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto was also crying, and her accomplishment led to what was likely a different flood of emotion: joy.
The three would eventually go out to the party few expected. Called to the top, Shcherbakova leaped into the air, arm held high, as she accepted her souvenir in the form of stuffed animals, which several first-place winners received as placeholders before their official medal celebrations the next day.
“I was so happy that I was at the right time and place and did the right things,” Shcherbakova said. But she quickly added, “On the other hand, I feel this emptiness inside.”
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