Winter Olympics team figure skating ceremony delayed amid reports of positive test

The Winter Olympics team figure skating medals have still not been awarded amid reports a competitor has tested positive for a banned substance.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused to provide details on the “legal issue” since the Russian Olympic Committee won gold on Monday.

Unconfirmed reports in Russia named 15-year-old Kamila Valieva as the skater in question.

“I can’t comment on speculation that I’ve seen,” said the IOC’s Mark Adams.

The Russian team won gold, ahead of the United States and Japan.

They had a mini ceremony at the venue, in which they were handed Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen teddy bears.

The official medal ceremony at a plaza in Beijing should have taken place on Tuesday evening.

Figure skaters who competed in the team event have continued in their individual events and have been practising. Valieva, whose world-first Olympic quadruple helped her team win gold, was at the National Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

“She is not suspended,” Russian figure skating federation spokeswoman Olga Ermolina said, offering no further detail.

Russian media reported on Wednesday that Valieva had returned a positive test, with newspapers RBC and Kommersant naming the drug as Trimetazidine, which is typically used to treat chest pain.

Adams, speaking at the IOC’s daily media briefing in Beijing, could not give any timeframe for when the medals would now be handed out. He would not confirm which team or athlete was involved, or whether a failed drugs test was the cause of the delay.

“We had a situation arise at short notice that has legal implications and I’m not going to comment on a legal case in a press conference,” he added.

Without confirming if it was a suspected doping issue, he said on a general point: “The IOC delegated testing, management and sanctioning to the Independent Testing Authority to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. It’s an active legal case and I refer you to other partners.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency code has protections for athletes aged under 18 who are found to commit doping violations, including that they may not be publicly named. On Thursday, Iran’s Saveh Shemshaki was announced as the first athlete to return a positive doping test at the 2022 games.

The International Skating Union said it could not “disclose any information about any possible anti-doping rule violation… in line with the ISU anti-doping rules and IOC anti-doping rules for Beijing 2022”.

An International Testing Agency spokesperson said: “Any announcement connected to these events would always be publicly issued on the ITA’s website and not commented on otherwise. No such announcement has been published to date.”

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