A high-profile doping claim hit the Winter Olympics on Wednesday as the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event was postponed because a Russian skater had a positive testing result for a banned substance.
The International Olympic Committee postponed the ceremony citing legal obstacles, which had to be settled with the International Skating Union. There was speculation that the continuing legal wrangle is over whether the substance was taken in or out of competition.
The skaters, who compete under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee, won the team gold on Monday. Four Russian skaters did not attend their planned training session on Wednesday.
The story was first revealed at the IOC press conference on Wednesday. The IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said: “A situation arose at short notice that requires legal consultation,” without providing any details on the nature of the consultation.
He continued: “You can bet your bottom dollar we are doing everything that this situation can be resolved as soon as possible. I cannot give you any more details but we will do our level utmost.” He said the ceremony would take place as soon as possible.
The legendary Russian coach Tatiana Tarasova denied that any of the Russian Olympic Committee skaters would dope. “This cannot be true,” Tarasova said in response to a question regarding doping allegations. “We can be pointed fingers at, but we are all clean.”
The International Skating Union did not respond to a request for a comment on the matter. There was no immediate comment from the Russian Olympic Committee. The Russian Sports Ministry told the Tass agency it was “premature” to comment on reasons for the delay.
The International Testing Agency, which conducts tests at the Games, said: “The ITA is aware of the various reports circulating regarding the postponed medal ceremony for the figure skating team event at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. 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.”