Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva disqualified, banned four years; Team USA to earn ’22 gold medal

Kamila Valieva of Russia performing at the Exhibition gala of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Rostelecom Cup; MOSCOW^ RUSSIA – NOVEMBER 18^2018

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has been retroactively disqualified from the 2022 Olympic Games, following a nearly two-year long investigation. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland ruled that Valieva violated anti-doping rules, and instituted a four-year ban dating from Dec. 25, 2021. CAS said in a statement announcing the decision Monday: “Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it, the CAS panel concluded that Ms. Valieva was not able to establish, on the balance of probabilities and on the basis of the evidence before the Panel, that she had not committed the (violation) intentionally.” Valieva will be ineligible to compete until December 2025, nearly two months before the 2026 Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin in Milan, Italy.

All of Valieva’s results from Dec. 25, 2021 going forward have been voided, which includes her achievements at the 2022 Olympic Games. Valieva did not medal as an individual; but the ruling affects the results of the team figure skating event on Feb. 7, 2022, where Russia won gold (with Valieva as a member), the United States won silver, and Japan won bronze. The IOC did not present the athletes with their medals at the time because there were already questions about Valieva, who was 15 at the time. Valieva was found to have tested positive for the banned heart medication trimetazidine at a Russian event a few weeks before the Olympics. Valieva’s positive test was taken more than a month prior to the 2022 Games, but the results were not returned until Feb. 8, one day after Russia won the gold in the team figure skating event.  Russian officials initially suspended her when the results came back, but Valieva appealed that decision and won, allowing her to continue to compete at the 2022 Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency subsequently appealed that decision to CAS, leading to Monday’s verdict. CAS did not take responsibility for the “consequences” of voiding Russia’s Olympic team performance, however, it seems likely that the United States will move up into the gold medal slot, and Canada will move from fourth-place status into the bronze spot.

Editorial credit: EUPA-IMAGES /