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Olympics: Russian skater Kamila Valieva disqualified, served with four-year ban

The United States will likely gain new gold medals as a result of Valieva's disqualification

Kamila Valieva, pictured here at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Kamila Valieva, pictured here at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

After nearly two years, the results of an investigation into Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva are complete, and Valieva has been retroactively disqualified from the 2022 Olympic Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland has ruled that Valieva violated anti-doping rules and instituted a four-year ban dating from Dec. 25, 2021. As a result, all of Valieva's results from that date forward, including at the 2022 Olympic Games, have been voided.

Most notably, this affects the results of the team figure skating event, which took place on Feb. 7, 2022. At that event, Russia — with Valieva as a member — won gold, the United States won silver and Japan won bronze. However, the IOC did not present the athletes with their medals because there were already questions at the time about Valieva. Then 15, Valieva was found to have tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart medication, at a Russian event a few weeks before the Olympics.

"Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it," CAS said in a statement announcing the decision Monday, "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."

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While Valieva's positive test was taken more than a month prior to the 2022 Games, the results were not returned until Feb. 8, a day after Russia took home gold in the team figure skating event. Once revealed, controversy ensued in Beijing.

When the results came back, Russian officials initially suspended her. As the Olympics carried on, she appealed that decision, won and was allowed to continue to compete at the 2022 Games. The World Anti-Doping Agency subsequently appealed that decision to CAS, leading to Monday's verdict.

While CAS did not take responsibility for the "consequences" of voiding Russia's Olympic team performance, the decision likely means that the United States will move up into the gold medal slot, and Canada will move from fourth-place status onto the podium.

Valieva, the unquestioned star of Russia's figure skating team, did not medal as an individual.

How exactly the athletes in the team competition will get their medals remains to be seen. The IOC handles the redistribution of medals won and lost because of post-Olympic decisions. One idea floated in the last two years would involve presenting the medals at a ceremony at this summer's 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

The CAS emphasized that Valieva's age, which put her in the class of "Protected Person," did not exempt her from the regulations and disqualification. Russia has the ability to file an appeal within 30 days.

Valieva will be ineligible to compete until December 2025, roughly two months before the 2026 Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin in Milan, Italy.