The winners in the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics still have not received their medals two days later because of what the IOC said Wednesday were “legal issues.”
The ceremony to award the Russian team the gold medals, the United States silver and Japan bronze was pulled from its scheduled slot late Tuesday.
Reporters asked the Kremlin about the issue later Wednesday amid speculation that the gold medals won by six Russian skaters could be at risk.
“Let’s, for the sake of understanding, wait for some explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams earlier cited “legal consultation” required with the governing body of skating. Details of the case were not specified though could involve suspected athlete ineligibility or a doping rules violation.
“We have athletes that have won medals involved,” Adams said at the daily news briefing.
Media in Russia reported the medal ceremony was delayed because one of the skaters tested positive for a banned substance in December. The athlete reportedly tested positive for a heart medication called trimetazidine.
NBC News has reached out to the International Skating Union and the Russian Olympic Committee, but neither has responded.
The team event was contested over three days between Friday and Monday and included two elements in each of men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance categories.
The standout performance was 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva becoming the first female skater to land a quad jump at an Olympics. American Vincent Zhou tested positive for COVID-19 after his free skate Sunday.
If any athlete and team were disqualified or had their results nullified, an appeal would likely follow, which could further delay the medals presentation.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has set up an office in Beijing to hear urgent cases during the Winter Games.
Some skaters in the men’s competition are due to finish their events Thursday and leave China soon after.
“Everyone is doing absolutely everything that the situation can be resolved as soon as possible,” Adams said, though he cautioned “as you know, legal issues can sometimes drag on.”
Canada placed fourth Monday and would be in line to be upgraded onto the podium.
Technically, it isn’t Russia competing at the Beijing Olympics, but ROC.
Russia’s name and flag are banned from the Olympics once again in the continuing fallout from the doping scandals which dominated the last decade of Russian sports.
It will be the third and last Olympics under these restrictions for Russia, which fielded an ROC team at last year’s Tokyo Olympics and the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” team at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The 2018 sanctions were for doping and cover-ups when Russia hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The current punishment is for a further cover-up, when the World Anti-Doping Agency found it had been handed manipulated doping data from the country’s national testing lab, which was under the control of Russian law enforcement. The restrictions on Russia expire in December 2022, well before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The Russian government denies there was any state involvement in doping.
Associated Press writer Dasha Litvinova in Moscow contributed to this report.
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