Skate Canada’s high performance director Mike Slipchuk is pleased to finally see movement on the controversial team figure skating event at last year’s Beijing Olympics.
But he laments the lost moment on the medal podium for all the affected skaters.
The World Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday it sent the Beijing Olympics case of teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva to sport’s highest court, accusing Russian officials of making no progress toward resolving it.
In one of the biggest scandals of the Beijing Games, Valieva helped Russia win gold before finding out about a positive doping test. Canada was fourth, meaning if Russia’s results are wiped out, the Canadians will move up to bronze.
“I really think it just needs to come to a decision, and I would say not as much for us in Canada, because we were fourth in the event. But I really feel for the U.S. and the Japanese who will never ever have that opportunity of a medal ceremony, not at an Olympic Games,” said Slipchuk.
The United States captured silver, while Japan was third, but no medals were presented in the event in Beijing.
“I do feel for those athletes. I’ve talked with my colleagues in the U.S., and it’s hard because it’s now almost going to be a year since the Games,” Slipchuk said.
WADA used its power to remove cases from national federations and sent the Russia doping case directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), arguing the Russians were making no progress toward resolving it.
RUSADA, the Russian anti-doping agency, said last month it was preparing to hold a hearing but that the verdict wouldn’t be public because Valieva was just 15 when she tested positive.
Slipchuk expects the affected teams to hold podium ceremonies of some sort when they finally receive their medals, but “they’re never the same, we’ve seen them, right, where they are by themselves on a podium with family and friends.
“And it’s unfortunate. But I’m glad it’s gone to the (CAS). I was surprised to see how WADA pushed it forward that fast. This has to come to a conclusion. Hopefully there’s a decision sooner rather than later.”
Lori Ewing/The Canadian Press