International Olympic officials have told counterparts in the United States that their figure skating team will receive Olympic gold medals now that Russian skater Kamila Valieva has been disqualified for doping at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee received word Monday night that the IOC would award the gold to the U.S. for the team competition, which was thrown into turmoil after Valieva’s positive test from six weeks earlier was revealed.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of an email sent from the IOC to the USOPC saying it “is now in position to award the medals in accordance with the ranking, which has to be established by the International Skating Union”—the federation in charge of running the event at the Olympics.
The USOPC confirmed that CEO Sarah Hirshland had received the news that the Americans were declared the winners.
The IOC said it had “great sympathy with the athletes who have had to wait for two years to get the final results of their competition. The IOC will contact the respective (national Olympic committees) in order to organize a dignified Olympic medal ceremony.”
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Still uncertain was how Valieva’s disqualification would affect the silver and bronze medals. Japan finished third and is likely to move to second. Depending on how a scoring rule is interpreted, Russia could still finish third—ahead of Canada—even after deducting Valieva’s points from the two events she skated in during the team event.
The Americans to receive the gold medals are Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Zachary Donohue, Brandon Frazier, Madison Hubbell, Alexa Knierim and Vincent Zhou.
It has been a long two years for all involved. Last summer, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum marked the 500-day milestone since the Olympics by displaying the empty boxes the skaters received that were supposed to contain medals that were not handed out in Beijing.
Over the weekend, Chock and Bates won their fifth U.S. title and were asked about the pending decision.
“I think two years is too long for this decision to be made, and we may never know why it has taken this long,” Bates said. “We’re just looking forward to getting some closure after a long waiting period.”
There was no immediate word on where a medals ceremony might take place. The USOPC said it was starting the process of finding a suitable time and place to award its skaters the gold. Skating’s world championships are in Montreal in March.
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