BEIJING — Russian star Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication, Russian news outlet RBC reported, delaying the awarding of medals for Monday’s Olympic figure skating team event.
Valieva was part of the Russian Olympic Committee team that won the gold medal, followed by the United States in second and Japan in third. The skaters who celebrated on the rink afterward have not yet received their medals, a postponement the International Olympic Committee said has been prompted by a legal issue.
While the IOC and the International Skating Union have not provided any additional details, USA Today also reported that the delay is related to a positive drug test by a Russian athlete considered a minor. Valieva, 15, is the only athlete under 18 who took part in the team event for the ROC. Athletes from Russia are competing as the ROC because the country is banned after a state-sponsored doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Asked about the situation before the men’s long program at Capital Indoor Stadium, an ROC figure skating press officer said, “We can’t comment about Kamila because we are waiting for the IOC press release.”
Such a release did not arrive at the IOC’s daily briefing shortly thereafter. IOC spokesman Mark Adams declined to comment Thursday on what he described as “all sorts of speculation.” He wouldn’t say who is handling this case because that would indicate the nature of the issue. Adams has previously said the issue “requires legal consultation with the ISU.”
The ISU said in a statement: “Referring to the recent media reports, relating to the Figure Skating Team Event, the International Skating Union cannot disclose any information about any possible Anti-Doping rule violation. This is in line with the ISU Anti-Doping Rules and IOC Anti-Doping Rules for Beijing 2022.”
Valieva, who continued to practice Thursday in Beijing, entered the Games as the gold medal favorite in the women’s individual competition, which begins Feb. 15. During the team event, Valieva became the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics. She attempted three and landed two. Valieva is the 2022 European champion and Russian national champion. She headlines a trio of Russian teenagers with expectations of sweeping the women’s individual medal podium.
At the Winter Olympics, medal ceremonies usually do not take place immediately after events. Athletes are recognized on the podium in the competition venue and receive a plush version of the Beijing 2022 panda mascot. They must wait to get their medals at one of two plazas.
When asked how long the figure skaters would have to wait to receive their medals, Adams said, “It depends on the legal process.”
On Wednesday, Adams called the delay of the medal ceremony an “emerging issue,” and he later added: “You can bet your bottom dollar that we are doing absolutely everything and everyone is doing absolutely everything [so that] this situation can be resolved as soon as possible because we have athletes and athletes that have won medals involved. … But I’m afraid, as you know, legal issues can sometimes drag on.”
The Russian participants in the team event were Valieva, Mark Kondratiuk, pair skaters Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, and ice dance tandem Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov. Countries are allowed two substitutions, but the Russian Olympic Committee team instead chose to keep the same representatives in the short programs and the free skates.
After his free skate in the men’s individual competition, Kondratiuk refused to comment to several questions asked to him about Valieva. He also refused to comment when asked whether the situation had affected his performances Thursday.
In the team event, the Russians finished with the best point total by a comfortable margin. In the team event, countries earn points based on their finish in each of eight segments, with 10 points for the top finisher, nine points for second place and so on. The Russians had 74 points and three top finishes, including two from Valieva. In only one segment — Kondratiuk’s short program, which placed third — did the Russians not finish in the top two.
The Americans in second had 65 points and narrowly edged the Japanese team, which had 63. Fourth-place Canada was far from medal position with 53 points. The silver medal is the United States’ best finish in this event since it debuted in 2014. In the previous two editions of the team event, the Americans earned bronze.
Les Carpenter contributed to this report.
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