February 14, 2022 6:48 AM
UPDATE February 14, 2022 10:35 AM VOA News
The International Olympic Committee said Monday that Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will not take part in any medal ceremony at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The IOC announced its decision hours after the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared the 15-year-old to compete in upcoming individual figure skating competition despite failing a drug test last December. Valieva tested positive for a heart medication that has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because it can potentially increase endurance.
The CAS said Valieva could compete because she was a minor or “protected person” and subject to different rules from an adult athlete.
The young skater helped the Russian Olympic Committee win the gold medal last week in the team figure skating event, and is favored to win the gold medal in the individual competition, which begins Tuesday. The IOC says there will not be a formal medal ceremony for the Russian team until a separate investigation is conducted, and said the same would hold true if Valieva earns a medal in the individual event.
Sarah Hirshland, the chief executive of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, issued a statement denouncing the CAS ruling. “We are disappointed by the message this decision sends,” Hirshland wrote. “Athletes have the right to know they are competing on a level playing field. Unfortunately today that right is being denied. This appears to be another chapter in the systemic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia.”
The U.S. team won the silver medal in the team figure skating competition, with Japan winning the bronze. If the Russians are disqualified, the U.S. would be awarded the gold medal, Japan the silver medal and Canada, which initially finished fourth, the bronze medal.
In Monday’s competitive events, American Kaillie Humphries won the gold medal in the inaugural women’s monobob bobsledding event. The Canadian-born Humphries won gold medals for her native country in the two-women bobsled at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and bronze in 2018 before leaving the Canadian team when she accused a coach of mental and verbal abuse. She was named to the U.S. team late last year after she became a U.S. citizen.
Humphries’ U.S. teammate Elana Meyers Taylor, herself a multi-Olympic bobsleigh medalist, won the silver medal Monday. Meyers Taylor was picked to be the flag bearer for the U.S. team during the opening ceremonies, but was forced to enter quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Canadian Christine de Bruin won the bronze medal.
In figure skating, France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the gold medal after Monday’s free dance program. Papadakis and Cizeron won the gold with a world-record total score of 226.98 that combined the scores from the rhythm dance and free dance events. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of the Russian Olympic Committee won the silver medal with a score of 220.51, while the U.S. team of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won bronze with a score of 218.02.
Austria won the gold medal in the men’s ski jumping event with a score of 942.7. Slovenia won the silver medal with a score of 934.3, with Germany taking the bronze medal with a score of 922.9.
And in women’s freestyle skiing, Xu Mengtao won the gold medal in the aerials event. Belarus’s Hanna Huskova, the 2018 gold medalist, won the silver medal, with Megan Nick of the United States taking home the bronze.