American skaters want medals, delayed by Valieva affair, before the end of the Olympics

BEIJING — The nine U.S. figure skaters who won silver medals in the team event at the 2022 Winter Olympics want to receive their medals before the Games are over.

And they intend to ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport to make it happen.

In a letter sent through a lawyer on Saturday, the American skaters informed the International Olympic Committee and its president, Thomas Bach, that they planned to file an appeal with the ad hoc division of the CAS which would oblige the IOC to award the medals for the team event. before the closing ceremony on Sunday evening.

In the letter, lawyer Paul Greene argues that the IOC’s decision not to award medals for the event – which came after Russian team member Kamila Valieva tested positive for a substance prohibited – violates both the Olympic Charter and the Host City Contract. .

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“We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients before CAS and anticipate that the panel hearing this case will understand that our clients are being denied a legal right that they have earned and are entitled to receive,” Greene wrote in the letter, which was obtained and published by the Associated Press.

The IOC declined to comment.

Ramsey Baker, executive director of US Figure Skating, said in a statement that the organization stands behind its athletes, three of whom also won individual medals in Beijing.

“We stand behind and fully support our athletes as they bravely pursue the recognition they have earned,” Baker said. “Having a medal ceremony at the Olympics is not something that can be replicated anywhere else, and they should be celebrated in front of the world before leaving Beijing.”

Spokeswoman Kate Hartman said the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee also “fully” supports the U.S. skaters’ request.

The IOC announced earlier this week that it would not hold a medal ceremony for the event due to the Valieva saga.

The 15-year-old helped Russia win team gold in the first week of the Games, then learned that a sample she provided on December 25 tested positive for a banned heart drug. The IOC, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union approached CAS in hopes of preventing him from competing in the individual event, but CAS ruled in his favour. She then finished fourth after a disastrous long program.

With Valieva still eligible to compete despite testing positive for a banned substance, the IOC decided to delay the team medal ceremony, ostensibly to avoid a scenario in which the Russians received gold medals they might owe. to come back later. He said he would ‘hold dignified medal ceremonies once Ms Valieva’s case is closed’.

While keeping Valieva out of the podium, it also meant that nine skaters from the United States and eight from Japan could not claim their silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Bach held a private meeting with American skaters earlier this week to hear their concerns and explain the IOC’s reasoning for its decision. He confirmed at a press conference on Friday that the IOC had presented Team USA with an Olympic torch as a “token of appreciation” until their medal ceremony finally took place.

“We learned a lot about their feelings, about their sport, incidents in their sport and attitudes in their sport,” Bach said. “And there were also ideas presented, how this can be solved. And we will follow up on those ideas and proposals.”

The IOC said the results of the team event will be considered “preliminary” until Valieva’s case is resolved. It is not known how long this process will take.

Russia, meanwhile, said they also plan to battle the IOC in order to receive their team figure skating medals. Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in a statement Thursday that the organization believes Russia is entitled to the gold “regardless of the outcome of the disciplinary investigation into the athlete.”

“We will constantly defend this position in any potential proceedings, including before the CAS, if necessary,” Pozdnyakov said.

American skaters want medals, delayed by Valieva affair, before the end of the Olympics

USA Today

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