August 16, 2022

Russian figure skater’s positive drug test after winning gold in team event, delays medal ceremony: report

The International Olympic Committee delayed the medal ceremony for the team figure skating competition on Tuesday over what it said were “legal issues,” but according to reports, one Russian skater has tested positive for drugs. 

A source told USA Today on Wednesday that one of the six members competing for the Russian Olympic Committee tested positive for drugs after winning gold in the three-day team event that concluded on Monday. 

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The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not identify which skater turned back the positive test, but Russian media outlets later reported that 15-year-old superstar Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned drug named Trimetazidine after the ceremony had already been postponed, according to a Reuters report. 

Kamila Valieva of Team ROC reacts during the women single skating free skating team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb, 7, 2022, in Beijing, China. 

Kamila Valieva of Team ROC reacts during the women single skating free skating team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb, 7, 2022, in Beijing, China. 
(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The ROC, followed by the United States and Japan were to be honored during their official medal ceremony on Tuesday, but the event was pulled from the schedule without explanation. 

IOC spokesman Mark Adams later told reporters during a daily news briefing that the issue required “legal consultation” with the governing body of skating. He offered little information other than confirming that “We have athletes that have won medals involved.” 

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Reporters on Wednesday speculated if the issue could affect the podium. 

Members of the Russian Olympic Committee's figure skating team pose at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Feb. 7, 2022.

Members of the Russian Olympic Committee’s figure skating team pose at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, Feb. 7, 2022.
(Alexander Mysyakin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Let’s, for the sake of understanding, wait for some explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to questions. 

The medals presentation could be further delayed if a team or skater were to be disqualified over the incident. In this case, Canada, which finished fourth in the event, could find itself on the podium. 

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Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee performs during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Feb. 7, 2022.

Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee performs during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, on Feb. 7, 2022.
(Lan Hongguang/Xinhua via Getty Images)

The Russians are already serving a two-year ban, acting as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee, after a large Russian state-sponsored doping program was first uncovered in 2016. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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