The International Skating Governing Body on Tuesday awarded the gold medal to the United States at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, stripping Russia of its victory in team figure skating. The move comes a day after teenage Russian star Kamila Valeeva, who led her team to an emphatic victory in the group event, was banned for four years for doping.
But instead of disqualifying Russia's team for fielding an ineligible skater, the governing body, the International Skating Union, reversed the results of the competition, awarding Russia the bronze medal instead.
In a statement announcing the revised results, the Skating Union said it had disqualified Valeeva and rejected all points she had accumulated. Those changes put the United States first, Japan second and Russia third in the group event.
But for those interested in mathematics, ISU The final team adjusted totals only When it reorders the positions for each country. The individual points accumulated by each team's women's singles skaters at the same time pushed Canada, which was expected to advance to bronze, into fourth place – one point behind Russia.
The Canadian Skating Federation had no immediate public comment on the ISU decision. on Monday, Skating Federation And Canadian Olympic Team Both “applauded” the decision to disqualify Valeeva but did not directly call for any medals to be awarded to Canadian athletes.
However, the Russian Olympic Committee said that It is already preparing the documents for the appeal Reallocation of Medals. In a statement earlier on Monday, it cast doubt on the “objectivity and impartiality” of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, while insisting that the ISU had correctly applied the rules in awarding its team the bronze.
According to those rules, It said“The results of the team competitions at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games do not depend on the outcome of the review of Kamila Valeeva's individual case, and the awards won by our team in Beijing cannot be legally reviewed.”
The decision raises even more questions about Russia's influence over top sports bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, and highlights the inability of global sports to enforce rules on doping and punish athletes and nations in a timely manner. Critics have accused the IOC of taking a soft approach towards Russia, for example, when Russia's anti-doping agency was empowered to conduct an initial investigation into Valeeva's positive result, which itself was barred.
The Walewa scandal has been allowed to drag on for nearly two years, and there may be twists and turns; Fresh appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport could set the stage for further legal action, which could take months to resolve.
In Tuesday's announcement, Valeeva finished fourth in singles, not just the team event at the Games for the first time. event and his victory at the 2022 European Championships.
Her four-year ban will expire in December 2025, in time to allow her to compete in the next Olympics in Italy in February 2026.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskov on Monday derided Valiev's ban as a “politicized decision.” On Tuesday, he expanded his criticism, suggesting that any decision to take gold out of Russia would be unacceptable.
“We disagree with these decisions, neither the court nor the federation,” he said. “We don't accept them.”
Mr. Peskov said Russia was ready to work with “all relevant structures” to protect the interests of its athletes.
He added: “Upon returning from China from the Olympics, these athletes were honored as Olympic champions; For us we are sure that they will always be Olympic champions. Whatever decisions are taken in this matter, may be unjust.”
The International Skating Union said it would coordinate with the International Olympic Committee on the next steps to implement its decision – mainly the long delay in awarding medals from the team competition in Beijing.
While it was unclear at the time who had actually won them, the IOC took the unprecedented step of retaining the gold, silver and bronze medals in Beijing. It was the first time in Olympic history that no medals were awarded at a completed event.
Ivan Necheburenko And Juliet McGurr Contributed report.