Russian teenager Valieva disqualified in Olympic doping case, Canada could be reclassified to bronze


Canada is set to advance to bronze after Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was disqualified from the 2022 Olympics on Monday, nearly two years after her doping case sparked unrest at the Beijing Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict means the Russians will be stripped of the gold medal in the figure skating team event.

The United States finished second and should be named Olympic champions in their place. Japan initially finished third and Canada fourth.

CBC Sports has contacted Skate Canada for comment.

If the Canadians were elevated to third, that would mean a bronze medal for Roman Sadovsky, Madeline Schizas, Kristen Moore-Towers, Michael Marinaro, Vanessa James, Eric Radford, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier.

The International Olympic Committee decided not to award any medals for the Beijing event, where 15-year-old Valieva was the star hours before her positive test for a banned heart drug was revealed.

CAS said it had upheld appeals from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which asked the court to disqualify Valieva from the Olympics and ban her. A Russian sports court had cleared her of any blame.

CAS judges banned her for four years, until December 2025, approximately seven weeks before the next Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

The IOC is responsible for re-awarding medals and its executive board is due to next meet in March.

Canada finished fourth overall with 26 medals, one behind Germany. Norway finished first with 37 medals and the Russian Olympic Committee second with 32.

Valieva’s lawyers had argued that she had been contaminated with traces of the drug trimetazidine that they claimed her grandfather had used.

“Having carefully considered all the evidence presented before it,” the court said in a statement, “the CAS panel concluded that Ms. Valieva was not able to establish, on the balance of probabilities and on the basis evidence presented to the panel, that she did not commit the (anti-doping violation) intentionally.”

The judges ruled that, under Russian anti-doping rules, Valieva could not benefit from being a minor at the time of the positive test.

There was “no basis in the rules to treat them differently from an adult athlete”, said the court, which did not release its detailed verdict pending a review of confidentiality issues.

The case caused legal chaos at the Olympics because Valieva’s sample, taken six weeks earlier during the Russian national championships, was not notified by a Swedish laboratory until hours after her participation in the team event on February 7, 2022.

Scrutiny at the 2022 Games

Valieva continued to skate at the Olympics after rulings by a Russian court and a separate CAS committee did not hold her responsible as a minor.

Valieva’s scrutiny led to a series of errors in the individual event, where she had been favored for gold but fell to fourth place.

The drama continued when she left the ice. The reaction of his coach, Eteri Tutberidze, was sharply criticized by skating experts and the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.

Bach said the next day in Beijing that he had been “very, very disturbed” by the “enormous coldness” of Valieva’s entourage.

The case was brought before CAS to challenge a Russian anti-doping court verdict in late 2022 that Valieva was not at fault. This decision suggested disqualifying her only from the national championships and allowing her to keep her Olympic results and gold medal.

WADA asked CAS to impose a four-year ban and disqualify Valieva from the Olympics. The International Skating Union requested a two-year ban and disqualification.

Valieva, who turns 18 in April, has not competed internationally since the Beijing Olympics.

Four days after the closing ceremony, Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and five days later the International Skating Union banned Russian skaters from participating in its events. This ban is still in effect.

Since the Olympics, Valieva has skated on an expanded Russian national competition circuit as well as in various televised events and ice shows. She is no longer the nearly unbeatable skater she appeared to be before the Beijing Olympics and was beaten twice at the Russian national championships by younger skaters from the same training group led by Tutberidze.

Although scores at national championships are often inflated, Valieva’s 237.99 points – third at the Russian championships – would have been the best in the world by more than 10 points this season.

When an athlete aged 16 or younger tests positive for a banned substance, international rules require an investigation into those around them. The Russian anti-doping body and WADA were supposed to review this case, but neither have released findings and there is no indication that anyone else is facing anti-doping charges in this case. affair.


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