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RFE/RL: Russian figure skaters lose Olympic gold amid doping scandal

The image shows the Olympic Games symbol on Trocadero place in front of the Eiffel Tower celebrating the upcoming Paris 2024 summer Olympics. Credit: depositphotos.com
RFE/RL: Russian figure skaters lose Olympic gold amid doping scandal

The International Skating Union (ISU) has demoted the Russian figure-skating team that took part in the 2022 Beijing Olympics from gold to bronze due to the disqualification of Russian teen skater Kamila Valiyeva, 17, for a doping offense, as per Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty.

On 29 January, The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled for a four-year suspension for Valiyeva for using banned substances, starting from December 2021.

Following the CAS decision, the ISU said that without the points Valiyeva scored in the team event, Russia was being moved down to third place, pushing the US into the top spot and Japan to second place.

In December 2021, Valiyeva tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication that can boost endurance, with the results only becoming known after her Olympics victory.

The ISU expressed support for the CAS decision, emphasizing its commitment to clean athletes and anti-doping efforts.

“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.

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,” said an ISU statement.

Additionally, the decision implied that Vasilyeva’s fourth-place achievement in the women’s singles event in Beijing and her first-place triumph at the 2022 European Championships have been nullified.

Last month, the International Olympic Committee announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be allowed to compete at the 2023 Olympic Games. Sportsmen and women from two terrorist states will have to compete under a neutral status, which means their national flags will not be flown.

Anthems of these countries will not be played, and the national colors of Russia and Belarus will also not be displayed. Finally, the ICO said Russian and Belarusian government and state officials would not be invited to the Olympics.

This decision was strongly criticized in Ukraine and around the world. Vadym Hutsayt, President of the National Olympic Committee, said over 400 Ukrainian athletes have been killed due to Russia’s full-scale war.

Ukraine’s Olympic Committee: Over 400 Ukrainian athletes killed due to Russia’s aggression

Ukraine’s supporters also placed a petition on Change.org demanding that Russian athletes be banned from participating in the competition in Paris. The activists said that over 50% of Russian medalists are serving in the Russian armed forces and can’t be allowed to take part in the Olympics.

The American University Kyiv, the authors of the petition, called on sponsors to publicly withdraw support and all advertising during the games if Russia participates.

It said that the International Olympic Committee receives $2 billion in advertising from 13 sponsors. At least nine of the 13 major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Visa, Airbnb, Toyota, Panasonic, Intel, GE, Bridgestone, and Atos, have ceased operating in Russia.

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