ZHANGJIAKOU, China (AP) — Lawyers for the U.S. figure skaters whose Olympic silver medals are withheld have notified the IOC that they have filed an appeal to have them awarded before the end of the Beijing Games, The Associated has learned. Press.
In a letter sent to IOC President Thomas Bach on Saturday in China, a copy of which was obtained by the AP, the lawyers said they would ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule before Sunday’s closing ceremony. .
Kamila Valieva led the Russian team to victory in the team event last week, and the United States finished second. Shortly after, a positive doping test for the 15-year-old skater was leaked. CAS allowed her to continue skating in the women’s event, but the International Olympic Committee said it would not award medals in events where she finished in the top three.
She finished fourth in the women’s event – crying as she walked off the ice, then slammed by her coach after a long, error-filled programme.
This case concerns the team event held the previous week. The Russians won the event by a wide margin. Japan finished third and Canada finished fourth.
The letter sent on behalf of the American finalists states that “the IOC’s own rules require that a victory ceremony ‘to present medals to athletes follow the conclusion of each sporting event'”.
At a meeting earlier this week with the skaters, Bach presented them with Olympic torches as a souvenir while the doping case, which could take months or even years, unfolds.
The lawyers said they hoped the IOC would reconsider but due to the urgency they were filing the appeal.
U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director Ramsey Baker sent the AP a statement of support for the skaters.
“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 they leave Beijing,” Baker said.
The letter to Bach, sent by lawyer Paul Greene, who represents athletes in doping cases and other cases against Olympic authorities, says the IOC president has asked the athletes for their opinion.
“A medal ceremony worthy of our customers’ perspective is one that takes place in the medal plaza, as originally planned and offered to all other medal winners,” he wrote.
After Valieva’s test became public knowledge, the Russian anti-doping agency first placed her on provisional suspension, then lifted the suspension. This prompted the IOC and World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal to CAS, which acted quickly and said Valieva could still compete.
This did not resolve the larger question of the outcome of the team competition.
Nine Americans could get some sort of medal out of it – either the second place they’re aiming for this weekend, or a gold medal that could become theirs if the Russians are disqualified over Valieva’s doping case.
Because she is 15, Valieva is considered a “protected person” under anti-doping rules and should not receive a harsh sanction. His coaches and doctors are under investigation by Russian and global anti-doping authorities.
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