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CAS registers Canadian figure skating appeal seeking team bronze from 2022 Olympics

GENEVA — An appeal from Skate Canada, the Canadian Olympic Committee and affected athletes challenging the International Skating Union's amended ranking of the 2022 Beijing Olympics team figure skating event has been officially registered.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday it has registered the Canadian appeal as three appeals from Russia disputing the ISU's redistribution of the team medals in fallout from the doping case and subsequent disqualification of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.

"Given the early stage of the proceedings, no indication can be given as to when a hearing may take place, if any," the court said in a statement.

The Canadian appeal seeks to get bronze medals ahead of the Russians, who the ISU downgraded to third place instead of fourth once it had removed Valieva’s points scores

The separate Russian appeals from the national Olympic body, the national skating federation, and the skaters including Valieva who were victorious teammates in Beijing, ask the court to reinstate their team as gold medallists.

The appeals mean a further delay in awarding medals from the event. There was not a medal ceremony in Beijing because of the developing controversy.

The ISU was obliged by the binding CAS ruling disqualifying Valieva on Jan. 29 to remove the Russians from first place and upgrade the United States as champions and Japan into second place.

Controversy and promises of further appeals to CAS followed the skating body’s interpretation of its own competition rules. The ISU removed Valieva’s points — a maximum 10 for her team in each of the short program and free skate — but did not add a point to the tally of other teams who subsequently rose in the event standings.

The ISU’s reordering of team points totals left fourth-place Canada one point behind the Russians. The Canadians believe they should be one point ahead in third place with extra scores added to take account of Valieva’s removal.

Members of the Canadian team entry in Beijing included Madeline Schizas, Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier, Kirsten Moore-Towers, Michael Marinaro, Eric Radford, Vanessa James and Roman Sadovsky, a last-minute replacement for Keegan Messing.

Schizas said earlier this month that she was not anticipating a rapid verdict on the appeal and was unsure whether it would yield success.

"I hope our chances are good, but if nothing else I'd like to understand why that decision was made," she said. "This appeal, if nothing else, will … provide clarity."

The fresh appeals now create a third round at CAS with a third different panel of judges since Valieva’s positive test for a banned heart medication was revealed during the 2022 Olympics, hours after she starred in the Russian win. No medals were awarded in Beijing.

A first CAS process in Beijing cleared her to skate in the individual women’s event, where she started as the favourite. Valieva, then 15, finished fourth with a mistake-filled free skate under intense pressure from the legal issues.

A second appeal to CAS took a full year to complete once the World Anti-Doping Agency and ISU were able to challenge a slow-paced Russian sports tribunal’s decision late in 2022 to clear her of blame.

Valieva, now aged 17, was eventually banned by CAS judges for four years until December 2025 and disqualified from the Olympics. The judges did not accept her lawyers' argument that she could have been contaminated by a strawberry dessert prepared by her grandfather.

A formal reallocation of medals must by done by the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC executive board meets March 19-21 and the latest legal challenges can further delay its decision.

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AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

The Associated Press