Russian figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze was criticised by Thomas Bach yesterday over her treatment of Kamila Valieva, which she claims has left her confused ©Getty Images

Russian figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze has claimed she is "at a loss" after criticism from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach following her reaction to Kamila Valieva's failure to win a medal at Beijing 2022.

Valieva had been at the centre of controversy at the Winter Olympics, having been cleared to compete in the women’s individual event by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after a positive drug test.

A CAS panel had elected not to reintroduce a provisional suspension on Valieva, but the 15-year-old tumultuous week ended with a series of errors which saw her miss out on a medal.

Bach hit out at Valieva’s entourage yesterday, claiming there appeared to be a "tremendous coldness" in how she was received when she left the ice.

The German official described it as "chilling" to see and promised "very strong measures" would be taken should wrongdoing be discovered, with investigations underway into Valieva’s entourage.

According to the Russian official state news agency TASS, Tutberidze has claimed she has received support since Bach’s comments.

"I am very grateful for the words of support," Tutberidze said.

"I am still at a loss from the assessment of our work by the esteemed Mr. Bach."

Tutberidze had questioned why Valieva "stopped fighting" as the 15-year-old left the ice.

"Why did you let it go?' she said, according to Russian media.

“Explain to me, 'Why?'

"Why did you stop fighting? You let it go. Why?”

The 47-year-old Tutberidze coached all three Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) skaters who competed in the women’s final, with Anna Shcherbakova winning gold and Alexandra Trusova the silver.

It was the second consecutive Winter Olympics she had coached the gold and silver medallists having also trained Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, first and second at Pyeongchang 2018. 

Tutberidze has faced criticism from individuals in figure skating due to the short careers of the athletes she has coached.

Zagitova took a break from competitive figure skating in 2020 citing a lack of motivation her victory at Pyeongchang 2018, while Medvedeva retired in December due to a chronic back injury.

Lillehammer 1994 ice dance silver medallist Alexander Zhulin has also criticised Bach’s comments.

Zhulin, now a coach, also called for revision of World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

He cited his athlete Ekaterina Bobrova missing a World Championships due to testing positive for the heart medication meldonium back in 2016, only to later have her suspension lifted.

"I am very surprised by your reaction to the behaviour of the Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze after the free skate of her student Kamilla Valieva," Zhulin wrote on Instagram.

"You write that you were worried about Camila (sic) the whole time, and the coach's reaction was very harsh.

"Coach Tutberidze has raised six Olympic medalists and four Olympic champions since 2014, and she probably knows how and what to say to her students after performances.

“You, please, analyze your position in relation to a woman and a young girl, starting from February 8 this year.

“From the position of a man, you behaved, in my opinion, cruelly and incorrectly.

“At least not for you to teach manners to an outstanding coach.”

Kamila Valieva returned home to Moscow yesterday following the Winter Olympics in Beijing, being met by fans upon her arrival ©Getty Images
Kamila Valieva returned home to Moscow yesterday following the Winter Olympics in Beijing, being met by fans upon her arrival ©Getty Images

An official in the Russian State Duma had suggested Vailieva could be selected to serve as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flagbearer at the Games earlier this week.

But Vailieva returned home to Moscow yesterday.

She was greeted at the airport by several fans, while she will be among ROC athletes granted state prizes following team event success at the Games.

Valieva had been a key member of the ROC gold medal winning squad in the team event on February 7, with United States and Japan completing the podium.

The sample provided by Valieva was taken on December 25 at the Russian Figure Skating Championships in Saint Petersburg tested positive for banned substance trimetazidine.

Trimetazidine, a medicine usually used to prevent angina attacks and help blood flow to the heart, is prohibited both in and out-of-competition.

A decision on whether an anti-doping rule violation occurred will be made by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.