Russian skating team Olympic result ‘remains gold’ – sports minister
Oleg Matytsin commented on the Russian figure skating performance in Beijing
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says that the performances of Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) figure skaters on the ice in Beijing speak for themselves, despite the unfortunate events surrounding teenage star Kamila Valieva and how they might play out with Russian’s ongoing ban by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Russian figure skaters topped the medals table for the sport in the Chinese capital with a total haul of six – two golds, three silvers and one bronze – with Anna Shcherbakova taking gold in the women’s singles and Alexandra Trusova grabbing silver.
The ROC also took gold in the team event as well as a silver and bronze in pair skating and another silver in the ice dance.
The figure skating, though, was plunged into controversy following the saga which enveloped the 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, who had helped the ROC win gold in the team event before the news emerged of a positive doping sample taken back in December.
Valieva ended up fourth in the women’s singles after being ruled eligible to compete by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as the ordeal clearly took a toll.
The IOC refused to hold a medal ceremony for the team event while Valieva’s case remains unresolved.
“First of all, I would like us to contact the IOC [International Olympic Committee] or WADA with this question, how they will challenge [the ROC gold medal], what arguments they will use,“ said Matytsin of any potential Olympic investigative fallout.
Matytsin’s comments come as a ban imposed on Russia by WADA is due to end in December of this year.
WADA had initially sought a four-year suspension of Russian athletes being eligible to compete under their own flag, in a lingering row over state-sponsored doping allegations, with the suspension ultimately shortened to two years by CAS.
Matytsin says that every effort will be made to ensure that Russia’s re-entry into the global sporting community will be safeguarded, and that RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency) is capable of self-governance.
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin. © Maksim Konstantinov / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images
“We will do our best to protect the interests of our athletes and coaches,” he added.
“We are ready to assist in those activities that the IOC or WADA will plan. We remain the most reliable partners of international sports.
“And one of our tasks is to counter the use of doping. All the activities and assessments by the Council of Europe, the UNESCO conferences confirm that we have built one of the most effective anti-doping systems.
“We adhere to the presumption of innocence. The result of our team in figure skating remains golden,“ added Matytsin.
Matytsin’s comments come as the ROC athletes returned to Moscow to a hero’s welcome after the completion of more than two weeks of intense competition where a total of 32 medals were won.