Events: Women's singles
Birthplace: Kazan, Russia
Residence: Moscow, Russia
Past Games: N/A
Immediately following the 2018 Olympics, few saw Kamila Valieva as a medal contender for the next Winter Games. Probably because she was 11 years old.
SEE MORE: 2021 Rostelecom Cup: Kamila Valiyeva's record short program
Now, not only is Valieva is the odds-on favorite to earn women's singles gold at the upcoming Games – she may very well set another world record in the process. After she made her international debut by winning an August 2019 Junior Grand Prix competition, the 5-foot-3 Russian took home gold at the 2019-2020 Junior Grand Prix Final and the 2020 Junior World Championships.
Born in Kazan, Russia on April 26, 2006, Valieva started skating at age 5 after trying a variety of sports, including gymnastics. Since then, her whole life has revolved around training and competing on the ice. She is taught by perhaps the world’s most famous figure skating coach, Eteri Tutberidze, who led Alina Zagitova to Olympic gold in 2018. In 2019, fans gifted Valieva a pet Pomeranian named Leva.
SEE MORE: European Championships: Kamila Valieva breaks own short record
Valieva made her senior Grand Prix debut this October at Skate Canada, where she immediately set world records in the free skate and total score. Most recently, she broke her own short program world record with 90.45 points at January’s 2022 European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, making Valieva the first female figure skater to surpass the 90-point threshold under the current scoring system.
How does Valieva earn such high scores? Quads, quads, quads. She is the fourth female figure skater to land a quadruple jump of any kind, and only the second to land a quadruple toe loop. She also packs a quadruple Salchow – not to mention a triple Axel – in her arsenal.
SEE MORE: 2021 Skate Canada: Valieva wins in senior Grand Prix debut
Perhaps more than any one title, move or world record, what truly sets this skater apart is her consistency. She has set eight world records and is the current world record holder for the women’s short program, free skate (185.29 points, 2021 Rostelecom Cup) and total (a whopping 272.71 points, 2021 Rostelecom Cup). Valieva has never lost a senior international tournament; she has placed second in two of five senior-level competitions in her home country.
During the 2021-2022 season, Valieva has skated to “In Memoriam” by Kirill Richter in her short program and “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel in her free skate. She has employed music by the rock band Muse, and songs from movies including Crimson Peak and Avatar, in her performances.
SEE MORE: 2022 European Figure Skating Championships results: Russians sweep, Kamila Valieva first in free