Figure skating doping concerns cast shadows over men’s gold medal competition

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BEIJING, Feb 10 (Reuters) – The men’s figure skating final, billed as one of the highlights of the Beijing Games featuring Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu and America’s Nathan Chen, begins on Thursday as simmering Russian doping allegations overshadow the competition.

Ahead of the much-anticipated event, excitement around the figure skating track in Beijing centered on days-old reports — as yet unconfirmed — that Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old favorite to win the gold medal in the women’s competition, has tested positive for a banned drug. Continue reading

Valieva was part of the six-man Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team that won gold on Monday. Medals from this event have yet to be awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) citing unspecified legal reasons for the unspecified delay.

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Mark Kondratiuk, who was also part of the winning team, turned up at the Capital Indoor Stadium to warm up ahead of his competition, where the main focus will be on defending champion Hanyu and three-time world champion Chen.

Hanyu, whose place on the podium is in doubt after an eighth-place finish in the short program, will look to redeem himself and make history with the first-ever landing of the quadruple axel in the competition. He admitted earlier this week that even in practice he would not yet have success.

Chen, on the other hand, is halfway to his own redemption from Pyeongchang four years ago when he went home empty-handed in a massive upset for the gold medal favorite. He finished Tuesday’s short program with a comfortable margin, beating Hanyu’s world record.

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Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Gabrielle Tétraut-Farber and Julien Pretot; Edited by Michael Perry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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