Figure skating’s global governing body defends its decision to not award Canada Olympic bronze in team event

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The International Skating Union (ISU) released a statement Friday giving its explanation on why Canada did not move up to the bronze medal position in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics figure skating team event following the suspension of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, saying it implemented its rules correctly.

On January 29, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Valieva was banned from competing for four years for an anti-doping rule violation, with the start date retroactive to December 25, 2021.

On January 30, the ISU announced the reordering of the teams in the event following Valieva’s disqualification, with the US, Japan and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) winning the Olympic medals in the event, in that order – dropping the ROC from gold to bronze. Canada remained in fourth, one point behind the ROC.

Following the January 30 announcement by the ISU, Skate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee said they disagreed with the method used to determine the order and are exploring options to appeal.

Skate Canada said the ISU did not apply Rule 353, which states “competitors having finished the competition and who initially placed lower than the disqualified competitor will move up accordingly in their placement.”

The ISU had remained silent until Friday, when it said Rule 353, paragraph four was “not applicable” in this case.

“In any complex and extraordinary situation like this, the reallocation of points could negatively affect the relative team ranking, adversely impacting teams that had nothing to do with the incident in question,” the ISU statement said.

“Therefore, we have to abide by the rules and principles. In light of this case, we will further clarify the rules and principles moving forward to ensure any such cases are dealt with more efficiently in the future.”

The ISU also said it “takes the discussions within the Figure Skating community and the media with regard to the re-ranking of teams for the Olympic Winter Games (OWG) Beijing 2022 Team event very seriously.”

CNN has reached out to the Canadian Olympic Committee for reaction on the ISU’s new statement.

After the ISU reordered the team standings, the total points did not go up for the US, Japan, or Canada – causing confusion on how the ISU had come to the conclusion on how the updated totals were calculated.

Only the ROC’s total – removing Valieva’s points from the short program and free skate – was changed, dropping from 74 points to 54. If points had been updated for the other teams, Canada would have defeated the ROC by one point. The ISU shows the US with 65 points, Japan with 63, and Canada with 53 – unchanged from the 2022 Olympics.

Following the figure skating team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, it emerged the then-15-year-old Valieva had tested positive for trimetazidine, a heart medication which can boost endurance. The positive test result came from a sample collected during the Russian national championships held prior to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

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