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Figure skating: Doping case still holding up 2022 Olympic medals

Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, competes in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 17, 2022, at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

COLORADO SPRING, Colorado (Kyodo) -- It has been a year since Kamila Valieva's breath-taking performance at the Beijing Olympics on Feb. 7, 2022 helped the Russian Olympic Committee secure first place in mixed team figure skating, but medals from the event have yet to be handed out.

    A day after the event, it was revealed that Valieva had failed a pre-competition doping test. The medal ceremony was canceled and has not been rescheduled, while questions over a doping case involving the then-15-year-old remain unresolved.

    The United States finished runner-up, Japan third and Canada fourth, but they could be elevated to gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

    On Tuesday in Colorado Springs, the venue for this week's Four Continents championships, Japanese pairs skater Ryuichi Kihara joined the United States' figure skating governing body in voicing frustration over the delay.

    "It's a fact that we finished among the medalists. Without a medal, it doesn't feel real," said Kihara, a member of Japan's Beijing Olympic team. "It's a medal we earned through team effort, so I've been waiting for the day to celebrate with my teammates what we accomplished."

    Last week, U.S. Figure Skating released a statement saying the team was "frustrated" by how long the process has taken.

    Because of her age, Valieva was declared a protected person by the World Anti-Doping Agency, whose rules say public disclosure in cases involving such athletes is optional.

    Valieva finished fourth in the women's competition, while no medal ceremony was held for the team event because of the uncertainty around whether she was eligible to compete.

    The Russian Anti-Doping Agency said last month it has found Valieva, now 16, violated anti-doping rules but bore no "fault or negligence" for the transgression.

    In response, WADA said it "is concerned by the finding of no fault or negligence and will not hesitate to exercise its right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, as appropriate."

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