Panel Rejects Awarding Medals to US Team Now

By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2022 2:05 PM CST
Panel Rejects Awarding Medals to US Team Now
Madison Chock and Evan Bates skate Feb. 7 in the team ice dance competition in the Winter Olympics in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Nine US figure skaters have been told they will leave Beijing without having their moment in a public medal ceremony and without the silver medals they won in the team competition. The holdup is the doping case against Kamila Valieva, a member of the Russian team that won the gold medal; the outcome of that investigation could change the team results. The American skaters appealed the postponement, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Saturday that it had rejected the petition, NBC News reports. The Winter Olympics conclude Sunday.

The panel, which held a 2½-hour hearing, did not yet explain its reasoning, per the Wall Street Journal. The International Olympic Committee's earlier decision "not to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 stands," the announcement said. The IOC declined to comment on the appeal Saturday. The Americans could be awarded gold medals for the event if the Russian victory is thrown out, but that wouldn't be for months or years, assuming there's an investigation, hearings, and appeals in the doping case.

The US team had argued to IOC President Thomas Bach that Olympics rules dictate that a ceremony to present medals "shall follow the conclusion of each sports event," per the AP. The challenge was filed by Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Zachary Donohue, Brandon Frazier, Madison Hubbell, Alexa Knierim, and Vincent Zhou. Bach had met with the US skaters Wednesday, he said, to "hear directly from them about their feelings and emotions." He said he offered them Olympic torches, per the Journal, "as a token of appreciation … but in no way as a kind of consolation for a medal." (More Winter Olympics stories.)

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