IOC reportedly offers US skaters replacement medals while it sorts through Russian doping mess

ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach has presented U.S. figure skaters with Olympic torches as gifts while they await resolution of the Russian doping case that is preventing them from receiving their silver medals, learned the Associated Press.

Two people familiar with the events told the AP on Wednesday evening that Bach, in a private meeting with the skaters in Beijing that lasted about two hours, reiterated the IOC’s position that no medal ceremony would take place for events involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was confidential.

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement confirming that the meeting between Bach and the skaters had taken place, “but the details and content of this discussion should remain between them.”

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams repeated the USOPC statement during its daily briefing Thursday in Beijing and said he would not comment further.

Men’s champion Nathan Chen and his American teammates finished second to the Russians in the team event last week, but the result was quickly thrown into chaos when reports surfaced that Valieva had used a banned drug .

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that Valieva is still eligible to compete in this week’s women’s event as her case goes through the anti-doping system. This case will ultimately determine the status of the medals. Valieva led the women’s contest after the short program.

The nine-person American team should at least get silver, but could end up with gold if Valieva is disqualified. The skaters had already received boxes to store their medals when they learned that the ceremony was cancelled.

People familiar with the meeting said the torches used in the traditional Olympic torch relay had already been handed over to team staff for later presentation to athletes.

After the CAS decision, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said the federation was “disappointed with the message sent by this decision” and suggested athletes were being denied the confidence of knowing they would be competing on an equal footing.




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