Russian Doping Rumors Swirl in Beijing After Delay to Figure Skating Team Medal Ceremony

Reports emerged from the Beijing Winter Olympics today that a Russian figure skater had failed a drug test, potentially awarding the gold medal won by the Russians in the event. figure skating team event for their American opponent.

Details of what the International Olympic Committee calls an “emerging issue” are scant, but an Olympic news website says it involves a pre-match doping test. USA Today said their source also confirmed a positive test involving an unnamed Russian opponent.

If any Russian skaters are found to be doping, it will deal a major blow to the IOC following its decision to allow Russian athletes to compete despite a worldwide ban on the sport. with the Russian national team for state-sponsored systematic doping.

It could also see the US handing out a much-needed gold medal.

The Russians wrapped up their victory in the team event on Monday, with 15-year-old skater Kamila Valieva becoming the first woman to achieve quad jumps in the Olympic free program.

After stepping onto the ice for the unofficial “flower ceremony”, they were due to be officially awarded the gold medal later that night, with Nathan Chen and the American taking silver and teaming Japan. But the ceremony was adjourned for 24 hours without any explanation — and then postponed again indefinitely on Tuesday night.

The mystery deepened on Wednesday when four of the Russian team’s skaters failed to show up for a scheduled practice session at the Beijing skating venue. Valieva is among those missing, as is European champion Mark Kondratiuk, who was a strong medal contender in Thursday’s men’s long show.

Kondratiuk’s coach, Svetlana Sokolovskaya, was quoted on the Telegram app as saying: “He had a day off so decided to miss the training session. Everything’s fine. We’re ready for a free ice skating ride. ”

Asked about the delayed medal ceremony during a briefing today, IOC spokesman Mark Adams described it as an “emerging issue” that is still being worked out. “A situation arose in the short term that required legal advice,” says Adams. “You can bet your bottom dollar, we are doing everything we can to get this situation resolved as soon as possible. I can’t give you any more details, but we’ll do our best. ”

Olympic news website Inside the Games, which reports on what it calls the “Russian doping mystery,” said it understood “a situation involving the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and doping governing bodies.” international” was behind the delay.

“It is believed that the matter is related to a drug test conducted before Beijing in 2022,” it added.

In a later report, citing an anonymous source “with knowledge of the situation,” USA Today said the ceremony was “delayed by a positive drug test by a member of the gold medal-winning Russian team.”

The skaters, and other Russian athletes in Beijing, are competing in these Olympics not as the Russian team, with the Russian flag and anthem, but under the name and colors ( particularly similar) of the Russian Olympic Committee.

The messy compromise was meant to allow athletes to compete on their own while sanctioning Russia. But it only seems to push the team to greater success: the Republic of China is leading in total medals in Beijing, with 10 medals in total — even though it has only two golds, including Even a medal is still officially awarded to the figure skating team.

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