Winter Olympics: Figure skating medal ceremonies will not take place after Valieva clearance

By Sports Desk February 14, 2022 1529

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has scrapped the medal ceremony for the team figure skating event in the wake of the Kamila Valieva verdict.

Valieva, 15, helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) claim team figure skating gold last week, and she is a big favourite to win first prize in the individual event, which begins on Tuesday.

However, the teenager had been unsure if she would be able to compete in Tuesday's event after the IOC and the International Testing Agency (ITA) appealed a decision from RUSADA  – Russia's Anti-Doping Agency – to remove a provisional suspension on the athlete.

Valieva tested positive in December for trimetazidine, a medication that prevents angina attacks but is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) because it aids blood flow to the heart.

On Sunday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that Valieva was able to compete, stating that it was appropriate that the provisional suspension had been lifted.

While accepting this decision, the IOC has decided against holding a medal ceremony for the team figure skating, while it has also stated there will be no such celebration should Valieva finish on the podium in the individual event, as is expected.

A statement from the IOC said: "The CAS has clearly expressed that the decision taken by the Ad-hoc Division today is not a decision on whether Ms Valieva violated the anti-doping rules.

"It was limited to the sole question of whether Ms Valieva could be provisionally suspended from the Olympic competition following a positive A-sample taken on 25 December 2021.

"The management of the case after this positive A-sample has not yet been concluded. Only after due process has been followed can it be established whether Ms Valieva infringed the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) and would have to be sanctioned."

The IOC EB (executive board) has subsequently concluded that: "In the interest of fairness to all athletes and the NOCs concerned, it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 as it would include an athlete who on the one hand has a positive A-sample, but whose violation of the anti-doping rules has not yet been established on the other hand."

The statement also confirmed that the IOC had requested the International Skating Union (ISU) allow a 25th competitor to participate in the free skating event, which takes place on Thursday, if Valieva ranks inside the top 24 in the short program on Tuesday.

However, the IOC has promised to hold "dignified medal ceremonies" once Valieva's case has been fully concluded.

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Last modified on Monday, 14 February 2022 07:12
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