Sunday, December 4, 2022

New Russian Doping Scandal? Reports Say Figure Skater Failed Drug Test, Team Medal Ceremony Delayed

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An unidentified member of the Russian figure skating team that won the gold medal received a positive drug test result, USA Today and The Guardian report, delaying the medal ceremony for the team competition at the 2022 Olympics, and raising the prospect of a new Russian doping scandal.

Gold medalists Russia’s Kamila Valieva, Mark Kondratiuk, Anastasia Mishina, Aleksandr Galliamov, … [+] Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov celebrate during the flower ceremony of the figure skating team event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 7, 2022. (Photo by WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

One member of the six-person Russian team tested positive for a presumably banned drug that was “not performance-enhancing,” multiple people familiar with the situation told the Guardian.

Russia won gold in the team figure skating event on Monday, with the U.S. taking the silver and Japan the bronze.

The teams briefly celebrated on the ice directly after the competition Monday afternoon, and were scheduled to receive the medals Tuesday evening—but the ceremony has been delayed, and may be canceled, the Guardian reports.

International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams said “a situation arose at short notice that requires legal consultation” during a press conference Wednesday, adding “athletes that have won medals” are involved.

The International Skating Union, the sport’s governing body, said in a statement there are ongoing legal discussions with the IOC.

What We Don’t Know
Which athlete on the Russian team tested positive. USA Today reports the six members of the team are singles skaters Kamila Valieva, 15, and Mark Kondratiuk, 18, the pairs team of Anastasia Mishina, 20, and Aleksandr Galliamov, 22, and the ice dance team of Victoria Sinitsina, 26, and Nikita Katsalapov, 30.

Key Background
Russian athletes compete at the 2022 games as a neutral party, or “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” and represent the Russian Olympic Committee. The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from competing in the Olympics and other international sports games for four years in 2019, following a whistleblower report from Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory. Rodchenkov helped expose the country’s state-sponsored doping scheme dating back to the 2012 Olympics. Several athletes have had their medals stripped after positive tests in the fallout of the scandal, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened the four-year ban to two years, until Dec. 17, 2022.

Further Reading
Legal issue delays Beijing medal ceremony for Russian figure skaters (The Guardian)

Positive drug test by Russian figure skater has forced a delay of Olympic team medals ceremony (USA Today)

Russia Doping Scandal Fallout: Banned From 2020 Olympics, World Cup And More (Forbes)

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