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Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 4.
Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on February 4. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Pictures)

Within the lead-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics, Chinese language officers and state media repeatedly accused the US and its allies of making an attempt to “sabotage” the Video games, lashing out at their diplomatic boycotts over China’s human rights file.

However the previous two weeks have proven that it’s Russia — China’s shut good friend and strategic companion — that has ended up partially overshadowing the Video games, each in and away from the sporting enviornment.

Early within the first week, one of many Video games’ most watched occasions, determine skating, was rocked by a doping scandal surrounding Russian skater Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old gold-medal favourite. After a surprising efficiency on her Olympic debut, Valieva was revealed to have examined optimistic for a banned substance again in December — an explosive controversy that rapidly dominated international media consideration of the Video games.

And hundreds of miles away from Beijing, the large buildup of Russian army forces close to Ukraine’s borders has despatched alarm bells ringing throughout Europe and past. Fears of a full-scale invasion by Moscow has put a lot of the Western world on edge.

For the host nation, each are unwelcome distractions from its massive second within the international highlight. However given Beijing’s shut relations with Moscow — which each side have described as being at “the best stage in historical past” — it could possibly’t threat being perceived as important of Russia.

In any case, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Chinese language capital earlier this month to point out his private help for the Video games, attending a gap ceremony shunned by most Western leaders.

And in order the doping saga and Ukraine disaster made headlines world wide, China downplayed each points for its home viewers.

On Tuesday, all eyes have been on Valieva when she stepped onto the ice on the ladies’s quick program. Although she had been cleared to compete by the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport, her optimistic drug take a look at nonetheless loomed over the occasion, probably stopping her from amassing a medal ought to she make the rostrum.

Editor’s Word: A model of this story appeared in CNN’s In the meantime in China e-newsletter, a three-times-a-week replace exploring what you want to know concerning the nation’s rise and the way it impacts the world. Sign up here.

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Analysis: China's Winter Olympics moment is being overshadowed by its 'best friend'
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