BEIJING, China — An ongoing legal issue that could affect the medalists in the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics 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.
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the reason was a “legal consultation” required with the governing body of skating. Details of the case were not specified.
“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 placed fourth and would be in line to be upgraded.
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 that “legal issues can sometimes drag on.”
Reporters asked the Kremlin about it amid speculation that 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.
The U.S. earned the silver after back-to-back bronze medals at the past two Olympics, thanks largely to a winning dance program from Madison Chock and Evan Bates, while Japan climbed onto the team podium for the first time.
The U.S earned the silver after strong performances by individual skaters Nathan Chen, Karen Chen and Vincent Zhou, ice dancing teams Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue as well as Madison Chock and Evan Bates and the pairs team of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier.
However, the U.S. celebration was tempered by the news on Sunday that Zhou tested positive for COVID-19. After a subsequent positive test, he had to withdraw from the men's individual competition which started Monday.
Val Lick and Travis Pittman contributed to this report.