International skating’s governing body on Tuesday stripped Russia of its victory in the team figure skating event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and awarded the gold medal to the United States. The move comes a day after Russian teenage star Kamila Valieva, who led her team to an apparent victory in the team event, was banned for four years for doping.
But rather than disqualifying the Russian team for including an ineligible skater, the governing body, the International Skating Union, adjusted the competition results to award Russia the bronze medal.
In a statement announcing the revised results, the skating union said it had disqualified Valieva and thrown out all the points she had accrued. These changes, he says, put the United States in first place, Japan in second and Russia in third.
But curiously, in mathematics, the ISU adjusted only final team totals for each country when reorganizing the ranking. By not increasing the individual points collected by the women’s singles skaters on each team at the same time, Canada, who expected to win the bronze medal, was left in fourth place, just one point behind Russia.
The Canadian skating federation, which reportedly received the statement about the revised results in the middle of the night Tuesday, made no immediate public comment on the ISU decision.
The Russian Olympic Committee, however, issued a statement questioning the “objectivity and impartiality” of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which banned Valieva, while emphasizing that the ISU had correctly applied the rules. rules in awarding his team the bronze medal.
According to these rules, the text specifies, “the results of the team competitions at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games do not depend on the outcome of the consideration of the individual case of Kamila Valieva, and the awards won by our team in Beijing cannot be legally subject to review.”
The result raised even more troubling questions about Russia’s influence on the highest sporting authorities, including the International Olympic Committee, whose major events have been disrupted by a decade of Russian doping accusations as well as that country’s invasion of Ukraine. Critics accused the IOC of taking a soft approach toward Russia by imposing tough sanctions that still allowed Russian athletes and teams to compete in its marquee competitions.
The Valieva scandal has been going on for almost two years and it could still have twists and turns; Russia – and Canada – could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, paving the way for further legal action that could take months to resolve.
In Tuesday’s announcement, Valieva was also stripped of all results achieved during the period she was ineligible, including not only the team event, which had taken place at the Games for the first time, but also his fourth place in singles. in Beijing and his victory at the 2022 European Championships.
His four-year ban will end in December 2025, which would allow him to participate in the next Olympic Games in February 2026 in Italy.
A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, on Monday ridiculed Valieva’s ban as a “politicized decision.” On Tuesday, he broadened his criticism, suggesting that any outcome that deprived Russia of gold was unacceptable.
“We do not agree with these decisions, neither those of the court nor those of the federation,” he said. “We don’t accept them.”
Mr Peskov said Russia was ready to work with “all relevant structures” to defend the interests of its athletes.
He added: “On their return from China after the Olympics, these athletes were honored as Olympic champions; we are convinced that for us, they will always remain Olympic champions. Whatever decisions are made in this regard, even the most unjust ones.”
The International Skating Union said it would coordinate with the International Olympic Committee on the next steps in implementing its decision – essentially the long-delayed awarding of medals from the team competition in Beijing.
Not knowing at the time who had actually won them, the IOC took the unprecedented step of retaining possession of these gold, silver and bronze medals in Beijing. It was the first time in Olympic history that medals were not awarded in a completed event.
Ivan Nechepurenko And Juliette Macur reports contributed.