Commentary

 By Grant Atkinson  February 10, 2022 at 2:40pm

When the team figure skating event concluded for the 2022 Olympics on Monday, it appeared that the Russian Olympic Committee had earned the gold medal.

Two days later, the medals have not been given out, and questions abound regarding the competitive integrity of the event.

According to ESPN, the medal ceremony scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled for what the International Olympic Committee called “legal reasons.”

“A situation arose at short notice that requires legal consultation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Wednesday according to The Guardian. “You can bet your bottom dollar we are doing everything that this situation can be resolved as soon as possible. I cannot give you any more details but we will do our level utmost.”

The Guardian confirmed the delay was due to a positive drug test from one of the Russian skaters. The outlet reported this does not automatically trigger a disqualification, as there are still questions as to “whether the substance was taken in or out of competition.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov urged the public to “wait for some explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC,” ESPN reported.

While officials did not identify the skater who tested positive, Reuters reported that Russian media outlets speculated 15-year-old phenom Kamila Valieva was the source of the positive test.

Valieva was the shining star for the Russian Olympic Committee during the team event, which included two elements each of men’s, women’s and pairs ice dancing.

According to ESPN, Valieva made history by becoming the first female skater to land a quad jump on Olympic ice.

Should the Russian Olympic Committee be disqualified?

If a skater were to be disqualified for a positive drug test, the Russian Olympic Committee could appeal the decision, which could draw out the process even more.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has a satellite office operating out of Beijing to allow for quicker hearings during the Olympics, ESPN reported.

The potential disqualification is of particular interest to the United States, which is currently slated to receive silver. If the Russian team had to vacate its medal, Team USA would be in line for gold.

Japan finished in third, while Canada was the first outside the podium in fourth. Both of those teams could also benefit from a DQ for the Russian Olympic Committee.

Russia is no stranger to cheating scandals in the Olympics. According to NBC, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia in 2019 from competing in international events for four years due to a “years-long, state-sponsored doping scheme.”

This followed a suspension from the IOC in 2017 that barred Russia from competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

The WADA’s decision bans athletes from competing under the Russian name or flag, but Russian athletes who pass drug tests can still compete under the name “Russian Olympic Committee.”

After Russia appealed the decision, the ban was reduced from four to two years, meaning the 2022 Winter Olympics were set to be the last games with the ban in effect. It remains to be seen whether more positive drug tests will result in further punishment for Russia.

Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.

Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.

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