BEIJING — An ongoing legal issue that could affect the medallists in the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics, an event in which Canada finished fourth, has caused the award ceremony to be delayed, the IOC said Wednesday.
The ceremony to award the Russian team the gold medals, the United States silver and Japan bronze was pulled from its scheduled slot late Tuesday.
Reporters asked the Kremlin about the issue later Wednesday amid speculation that the gold medals won by six Russian skaters could be at risk.
"Let’s, for the sake of understanding, wait for some explanations either from our sports officials or from the IOC,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams earlier cited “legal consultation” required with the governing body of skating. Details of the case were not specified though could involve suspected athlete ineligibility or a doping rules violation.
“We have athletes that have won medals involved,” Adams said at the daily news briefing.
In a one-line statement, the International Skating Union also cited ongoing legal talks.
If any athlete and team were disqualified, an appeal would likely follow to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Canada would be in line to be upgraded.
"We have no information beyond the fact that the ceremony was postponed," Skate Canada said Tuesday
If any athlete and team were disqualified or had their results nullified, an appeal would likely follow, which could further delay the medals presentation.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has set up an office in Beijing to hear urgent cases during the Winter Games.
Some skaters in the men's competition are due to finish their events Thursday and leave China soon after.
“Everyone is doing absolutely everything that the situation can be resolved as soon as possible,” Adams said.
However, he cautioned “as you know, legal issues can sometimes drag on.”
The team event was contested over three days between Friday and Monday and included two elements in each of men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance categories.
The standout performance was 15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva becoming the first female skater to land a quad jump at an Olympics. American Vincent Zhou tested positive for COVID-19 after his free skate Sunday.
A terrific Olympic debut by teenager Madeline Schizas highlighted Canada's fourth-place finish in the event.
The Canadians finished with 53 points to edge China (50).
—With files from The Associated Press.