Russian skater Kamila Valieva’s disqualification makes way for US to win gold

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Several U.S. Olympians will receive gold medals for their performance at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, officials announced Monday.

The U.S. Olympic figure skating team that competed more than 600 days ago will now be upgraded to gold medals after Russian skater Kamila Valieva, who initially won the gold medal, was disqualified over a positive test for a banned heart medicine.

Valieva, who was 15 when she won the gold medal, will end up empty-handed after the Court of Arbitration for Sport banned the Russian star for four years, dating back to the date she submitted the positive test, Dec. 25, 2021. The test was submitted six weeks before the Olympic Games. The sanction vacates any results after that date.

The Americans to receive the gold medals are Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Zachary Donohue, Brandon Frazier, Madison Hubbell, Alexa Knierim and Vincent Zhou.

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RUSSIAN FIGURE SKATING PHENOM KAMILA VALIEVA LEARNS FATE IN OLYMPICS DOPING SCANDAL

Two US skaters on the ice

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, seen here competing at the U.S. figure skating championships on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio., are among the Olympians who will receive the gold medals. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) received word that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would award the gold to the U.S. for the team competition after Valieva’s positive test was revealed.

The IOC told the USOPC that it had “great sympathy with the athletes who have had to wait for two years to get the final results of their competition,” according to a copy of an email obtained by The Associated Press. “The IOC will contact the respective (national Olympic committees) in order to organize a dignified Olympic medal ceremony.”

It is not immediately clear how Valieva’s disqualification will affect the silver and bronze medals. Japan finished the competition third and could then move to second.

Kamila Valieva

Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, was 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/David J. Phillip)

Despite the positive test, the Russian team could still earn a medal in the competition, depending on how a scoring rule is interpreted. Should the committee deduct Valieva’s points from the two events she skated — instead of disqualifying her team’s performance completely — Russia would finish third, ahead of Canada.

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RUSSIAN OFFICIALS RULE ‘NO FAULT’ FOR FIGURE SKATER KAMILA VALIEVA IN DOPING PROBE

It has been a long two years for all involved since the Olympics, and Chock and Bates, who won their fifth U.S. title over the weekend, were asked about the pending decision.

“I think two years is too long for this decision to be made, and we may never know why it has taken this long,” Bates said. “We’re just looking forward to getting some closure after a long waiting period.”

Chock and Bates

Madison Chock and Evan Bates won their fifth U.S. title on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

There was no immediate word on where a medal ceremony might take place. The USOPC is tasked with finding a suitable time and place to award its skaters the gold.

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The Skating World Championships are in Montreal in March.

Valieva’s sanction will end about two months before the next Winter Games in Italy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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