Winning Women's Figure Skaters Will Get Medal Ceremony After Kamila Valieva's Surprising Fourth Place

Alexandra Trusova, Anna Shcherbakova, Kaori Sakamoto were presented with versions of the Beijing Games' panda mascot and took the podium ahead of the medal presentation ceremony

The women's singles figure skating medalists will have a medal ceremony, which was up in the air heading into the free skate due to leader Kamila Valieva.

But on Thursday morning (Eastern), the controversy-shrouded Valieva had an uncharacteristically rough skate, falling and slipping multiple times. Her free skate score — despite a first-place short program — was not enough to land her on the podium.

Valieva's Russian Olympic Committee teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal with a final score of 255.95. The silver went to ROC's Alexandra Trusova with 251.73, and the bronze medal to Kaori Sakamoto. America's three skaters finished in seventh, 10th and 16th.

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The winning skaters were presented with small versions of the Beijing Games' panda mascot and took the podium after the skate. A full medal presentation ceremony is to come.

Ahead of the competition, the IOC announced that, due to the doping controversy surrounding Valieva, a medal ceremony would not be "appropriate" if she were to place.

"Should Ms Valieva finish amongst the top three competitors in the Women's Single Skating competition, no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony will take place during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," the IOC said.

Womens figure skating
The Beijing Winter Olympic women's figure skating medalists (from left) after Thursday's free skate: Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova of the Russian Olympic Committee and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It was revealed during this Games that Valieva failed a drug screening, reportedly testing positive for the banned heart medication Trimetazidine in December. Two other, not-banned heart medications were also found in her sample.

Figure Skating
The women's figure skating medalists. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced earlier this week that Valieva would not be suspended and could compete in the short program.

In response to the situation, Valieva's attorney had reportedly argued the banned drug entered Valieva's body accidentally and likely belonged to the athlete's grandfather, who takes Trimetazidine.

Many athletes have spoken out against the decision to allow Valieva to compete, including former Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi told Today of the potential lack of a medal ceremony: "It's just a little disheartening because there is so much uncertainty in the air and even if one of them didn't make the podium, there won't be a medal ceremony so just, you know, heartbreaking to see so many Olympic moments for other athletes being taken away."

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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