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No Olympic bronze for Canada despite Russian figure skating disqualification

Even without Valieva, Russian team still had enough points to finish 3rd in Beijing team event
FILE -Russian Kamila Valieva, center, and her coach Eteri Tutberidze, left, react after competing in the women’s free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2023 Russian Figure Skating Grand Prix in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been disqualified from the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport comes almost two years after Valieva’s doping case caused turmoil at the Beijing Games. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Skate Canada said Tuesday it was “extremely disappointed” with the International Skating Union’s position on the awarding of medals from the figure skating team competition at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and will “consider all options to appeal.”

Despite the disqualification of Kamila Valieva in a doping case, the Russian figure skating team still stands to finish on the podium and get bronze medals from the 2022 Beijing Olympics ahead of fourth-place Canada.

The Americans moved into the gold medal position in the team event and Japan was upgraded to silver from bronze. The demoted Russians drop into third place, one point ahead of Canada even after being stripped of the points the then-15-year-old Valieva earned on the ice.

The ISU published an amended points table from the Beijing competition that took Valieva’s maximum 10 points from each of her two events but did not add an extra point to the other teams below her.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that in addition to a four-year ban from competition, the ban includes ‘the disqualification (of) all competitive results’ achieved by Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva since the positive test,” Skate Canada said in a statement.

“The ISU in its recent decision is not applying Rule 353, which states that ‘competitors having finished the competition and who initially placed lower than the disqualified competitor will move up accordingly in their placement.’

“Skate Canada strongly disagrees with the ISU’s position on this matter and will consider all options to appeal this decision.”

Valieva was disqualified by the CAS on Monday from all of her events since December 2021 and banned for four years in a doping case that took almost two years to resolve. She turns 18 in April.

The final decision on awarding medals is for the International Olympic Committee, which the ISU said was consulted before completing its duty as the event organizer to amend the result.

“The ISU is in close contact with the International Olympic Committee and the relevant ISU member federations in regard to the implementation of this decision,” the governing body said.

Skate Canada likely can challenge the ISU decision at CAS. A message left with the Canadian Olympic Committee was not immediately returned.

Canada still gets eight points out of 10 from the women’s short program and free skate sections, where its skater was Maddie Schizas of Oakville, Ont.

Other Canadian team members in Beijing were Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier, Kirsten Moore-Towers, Michael Marinaro, Eric Radford, Vanessa James and Roman Sadovsky, a last-minute replacement for Keegan Messing.

Japan still gets nine points each time for originally finishing second to Valieva, through Wakaba Higuchi in the short program and Kaori Sakamoto in the free skate.

Canada’s overall points total remained 53 and the Russians’ tally dropped from 74 to 54 — enough for the bronze medals which Valieva’s teammates will get but she will not.

Skate Canada did not address the question of medal reallocation in a statement issued on Monday. It praised the ruling to disqualify Valieva which it said “underscores the significance of stringent anti-doping measures and the need for continuous vigilance in protecting the integrity of figure skating and all sports.”

A Canadian appeal to the court in Lausanne, Switzerland, could extend the case for about another year.

That would stall a medal ceremony which did not take place in Beijing because details of Valieva’s positive test for a banned heart medicine emerged hours after she skated and sealed the Russian win.

In Russia on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Valieva and her five teammates from two years ago were still considered winners.

“Upon their return from China we honoured these athletes as Olympic champions,” Peskov said. “We are convinced that they will always remain Olympic champions to us, whatever decisions may be taken in that regard, even unfair ones.”

The IOC executive board has its next scheduled meeting from March 19-21 in Lausanne at the same time Canada is hosting the figure skating world championships in Montreal.

The Olympic leadership is in South Korea for the Youth Winter Games and could address the skating medal issue there.

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