The drug scandal involving an Olympic skater will last until 2024, which is almost two years from now.
The drug scandal involving an Olympic skater will last until 2024, which is almost two years from now.

If the drug case against Kamila Valieva is put off for one more week in 2024, the decision will be made two years after the finals of the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics.

The long-awaited Kamila Valieva doping hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland finished in style on Friday afternoon. Now, the three arbitrators will have to make a decision, which will be very frustrating for two and a half months.

A CAS media release said, “The parties have been informed that the CAS Panel in charge of the matter will now deliberate and prepare the Arbitral Award containing its decision and reasons. The award is expected to be communicated to the parties by the end of January 2024.”

This would never be in the CAS statement, but we will:

If the choice is put off for one more week, it will be two years since the finals of the team figure skating event at the Beijing Olympics on February 7, 2022. That day, Russia won the gold medal, the US won the silver medal, and Japan won the bronze medal.

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That would be a truly valuable punctuation mark for this historic mess.

The athletes still don’t have those trophies, and it looks like they won’t get them until sometime in 2024. Olympians have never had to wait two years to get their medals because an Olympic award ceremony had to be canceled.

In a text message Friday afternoon, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart said, “Everyone deserves a well-reasoned decision based on the evidence, but the fact that this sorry saga has not been resolved already has robbed any real chance of justice.” “The global system of the World Anti-Doping Agency needs to change so that no athlete is ever cheated out of their rightful place on the podium, their hard work, or their sacrifice.”

The never-ending story started the day after the 2022 Olympic team figure skating event. The results were thrown into chaos when Valieva, the star skater for the Russian team at the time and 15 years old, tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian championships six weeks earlier.

After the Beijing Olympics were over, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was the only group that could start the Valieva probe. However, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency was suspended from 2015 to 2018 for helping Russian athletes cheat. It wasn’t a surprise that RUSADA hesitated and pushed back the process for months during the rest of 2022.

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The CAS hearing is over, and now the arbitrators will talk about it and then write their ruling. The International Skating Union, which is in charge of figure skating around the world, will decide the final results of the 2022 team figure skating competition as soon as that decision is made public.

Since Valieva was only 15 years old at the time, she was considered a “protected person” or child under world anti-doping rules. If it turns out that she is innocent, the results will probably stand: Russia, the US, and Japan.

It’s likely that if she is found guilty, the U.S. would get the gold medal, Japan would get the silver, and Canada, which came in fourth, would get the bronze.

Anyone can guess when all of this will happen and how the skaters will get their awards. A ceremony to celebrate the figure skating medal winners at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris has been suggested. However, as long as Russia holds on to the gold medal, that will not happen because of its ongoing war in Ukraine.

Like everything else in this long and hard story, there is no clear answer and, more importantly, no finish.

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