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USA figure skaters awarded Olympic gold after Russia's Kamila Valieva is disqualified

The United States will finally be awarded the team figure-skating Olympic gold for 2022 after the disqualification of Russian athlete Kamila Valieva for a doping offence.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) disqualified all Valieva’s results on Monday and handed her a four-year suspension after she tested positive for a banned substance in December 2021.

That ruling has led the International Skating Union, the sport’s global federation, to re-rank the teams who took part in the Games in Beijing two years ago.

The ISU confirmed the USA were now in top spot, with Japan in silver medal position and the Russian Olympic Committee ranked third.

“The ISU welcomes the decision of CAS and firmly maintains its position that the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping are of the highest priority and will persist in the ongoing effort to uphold the integrity of fair competition and the well-being of athletes,” an ISU statement said.

“The ISU is in close contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the relevant ISU member federations in regard to the implementation of this decision.”

The IOC had earlier said it could now award medals “in accordance with the ranking” and that it was ready to hold a “dignified” medal ceremony once the results had been officially ratified by the ISU.

“We have great sympathy with the athletes who have had to wait for two years to get the final results of their competition,” an IOC spokesperson said.

Valieva’s ban, backdated to the time of the original failed test, will run until Christmas Day 2025.

CAS found she had been unable to establish that the doping violation had not been committed intentionally. Valieva had been 15 at the time of the positive test, but CAS found her age made no difference to the burden on her to prove the violation was unintentional.

“This case, and its circumstances, are further proof of the need to address the part played by the athletes’ entourage in doping cases,” the IOC spokesperson added.

“This is even more important if the athletes are minors, who are even more reliant on their entourage.”

The IOC only learned of Valieva’s doping violation after the team event in 2022 and immediately sought to appeal the decision of the Russian anti-doping agency (RUSADA) to lift her suspension.

The appeal was joined by the ISU and the World Anti-Doping Agency but an ad-hoc CAS panel cleared her to keep competing.

She entered the individual figure-skating event in Beijing but ultimately finished in fourth place.

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