Russian figure skater’s 4-year ban could mean Team USA gets gold medal

Russian skater finishes fourth amid doping scandal

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been banned from the sport until 2025 after it was found she committed an anti-doping rule violation, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday. Valieva, who with the Russian Olympic Committee earned gold in the team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, will be stripped of any awards she earned since late 2021.

Valieva tested positive for a banned drug, trimetazidine, but the court ruled she could still compete in the Beijing Games as they investigated, which they said would take months.

At the time, the court said they decided to let Valieva, just 15 at the time, compete because she was a minor and had to follow different rules than an adult athlete.

The International Olympic Committee, however, said if she placed in the competition, there would be no podium ceremony to hand out the medals.

Her performance in the team figure skating competition helped Russia finish first, but they were not awarded a gold medal at the podium.

Russia’s Kamila Valieva reacts after competing in a women’s figure skating event during the Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on Feb. 17, 2022.
Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. earned silver in the event and Japan got bronze, according to CBS Sports. Now, the gold medal might be given to Team USA — nearly two years after the competition.

In a statement following the news of Valieva’s suspension, the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics Committee said the decision was one they had been “eagerly awaiting for two years.”

They commended Team USA — Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Zachary Donohue, Brandon Frazier, Madison Hubbell, Alexa Knierim and Vincent Zhou — saying their performances in Beijing “will forever symbolize their commitment to clean competition.”

“We now anticipate the day when we can wholeheartedly celebrate these athletes, along with their peers from around the world,” the committee said. “Their moment is approaching, and when it arrives, it will serve as a testament to the justice and recognition they truly deserve.”

The court issued a four-year ban for Valieva, beginning in December 2021, which is when she took the drug test. At the time, Valieva claimed the medication was her grandfather’s and she accidentally took it after a mix-up.

But the court said on Monday that after an investigation, Valieva was not able to prove that she did not intentionally take the medication.

As part of the four-year ban, all of Valieva’s competitive results from Dec. 25, 2021, onward will be disqualified and she will forfeit titles, awards, medals, profits, prizes, and appearance money.

Caitlin O’Kane

Caitlin O’Kane is a New York City journalist who works on the CBS News social media team as a senior manager of content and production. She writes about a variety of topics and produces “The Uplift,” CBS News’ streaming show that focuses on good news.

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