Canadian Skaters File Appeal Seeking Medals From Beijing Olympics

Canadian Skaters File Appeal Seeking Medals From Beijing Olympics

Nearly a month after international figure skating’s governing body revised the results of a marquee competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, stripping Russia of the gold medal and giving the United States team a long-delayed victory, a new fight about the outcome erupted on Monday.

Eight members of the Canadian squad that competed in the team competition in Beijing have filed a case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport demanding that they be awarded bronze medals in the team event. The court announced the filing but revealed no details.

The Canadians, whose case was joined by their country’s skating federation and national Olympic committee, are expected to argue that figure skating’s global governing body erred when it revised the results of the competition in January after a Russian skater who had taken part, the teenage prodigy Kamila Valieva, was given a four-year ban for doping.

The appeal, and three others filed by Russian interests over the results, ensured that a controversy that had already raged for almost two years will now be extended — complicating the awarding of the medals to any skaters until it is finally resolved.

The Canadians and others have contended that when the skating body, the International Skating Union, scrubbed the points won by Ms. Valieva from the results it had failed to upgrade the points totals of athletes who competed against her on the two occasions she took to the ice.

Had it done so, Canada’s team would have been upgraded to third place in the competition, edging Russia off the podium altogether.

In announcing its intent to appeal earlier this month, Canada’s skating federation took pains to note that it had no objection to the decision to elevate the United States to the gold medal and to lift Japan to silver from bronze. The federation, Skate Canada, said its only motivation was to ensure “that rules and regulations are upheld consistently and fairly.”

It is not the only team appealing the I.S.U. decision. The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, which serves as the final arbiter of disputes in global sports, said in a statement on Monday that in addition to the Canadian appeal it had also received three cases backed by Russian interests seeking to overturn the results, and grant Russia the team gold.

The decision to allow Russia to earn any medal at all when it had used an athlete later convicted of doping raised yet more questions about Russia’s influence over top sports bodies. It also highlighted the inability of global sports to enforce rules on doping and to punish athletes and countries in a timely manner. On Monday, the court offered no timetable for a resolution of the four new cases, signaling many more months of uncertainty.

The Valieva case upended the Beijing Games, leading to late-night emergency hearings about her eligibility and an awkward compromise after the end of the team competition: Unsure of who had won, the International Olympic Committee chose not to award any medals in the event.

Instead, the podium ceremony was modified, with the teams from Russia, the United States and Japan handed flowers and plush toys instead of golds, silvers and bronzes.

The controversy raised questions not only about cheating and fairness but also about how an athlete who was just 15 at the time, and considered a minor, could have been drawn into a doping scheme.

Under the intense media glare, Ms. Valieva’s performances dipped after news of her failed test months earlier was revealed during the Games. In submissions to the court, Russian officials later claimed that the prohibited supplement in her system, a drug used to treat heart disease, had been ingested after her grandfather prepared a strawberry dessert on the same chopping board the he had used to crush his medication.

That excuse was not accepted. And the latest series of legal actions makes the prospect of a final medal ceremony as remote as ever. While the I.O.C. said last month that it was eager to deliver the medals to the athletes who had won them, it had not yet indicated when the medal ceremony for any of the teams involved would be held.

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Jhon W. Hasvest

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