Russia still on Olympic podium for figure skating win - despite Kamila Valieva doping ban
Olympic medals from the team figure skating event are finally to be awarded for the last Winter Olympics following a ruling about teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva's use of banned substances – however Russia will still be on the podium.
The International Olympic Committee said it would present the gold and silver medals, which had not been handed out amid the investigation, to the US and Japan - however, according to a recalculation by the International Skating Union, Russia was still ranked in third place, even with Ms Valieva’s score removed. Russia had initially placed in the gold medal position.
Ms Valieva was barred from competition for four years from the date of her breach of doping regulations in December 2021.
If Russia had been disqualified from the whole event, Canada would have placed bronze.
Russia said “war had been declared” on Russian sport after Monday’s ruling.
"Kamila Valieva is found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility commencing on 25 December 2021," the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said.
The ISU said: “The ISU welcomes the decision of CAS and firmly maintains its position that the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping are of the highest priority and will persist in the ongoing effort to uphold the integrity of fair competition and the well-being of athletes.”
National governing body Skate Canada said it was "extremely disappointed" with the ISU's decision.
"Skate Canada strongly disagrees with the ISU's position on this matter and will consider all options to appeal this decision," it added.
An IOC spokesperson said: "The IOC welcomes the fact that the Cas ruling provides clarity in this case, and the athletes from the team figure skating competition at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 can finally get their medals, for which they have been waiting so long.
"The IOC is now in a position to award the medals. We have great sympathy with the athletes who have had to wait for two years to get the final results of their competition."
The IOC said it will contact the relevant nations' Olympic Committees "in order to organise a dignified Olympic medal ceremony".
Ms Valieva, who was 15 at the time, had tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug used to prevent angina. During the investigation, she claimed that she must have become contaminated with the banned substance after drinking from the same glass as her grandfather, who took medication for heart problems.
A Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) investigation later found she was guilty of "no fault or negligence" for the failed test. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the ISU appealed against that finding and Cas’ most recent ruling upheld their appeal.
The IoC added: "[It is] further proof of the need to address the part played by the athletes' entourage in doping cases. This is even more important if the athletes are minors, who are even more reliant on their entourage."
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov deemed the ruling to be politically motivated.
The Russian Olympic Committee said: "In effect war has been declared on Russian sport and, as we can see, no holds are barred."
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