US Figure Skaters Will Receive Olympic Torches Instead of Medals Amid Russian Doping Case
The U.S. figure skaters who finished second in the team event last week will receive Olympic torches instead of medals while the doping scandal surrounding Russian skater Kamila Valieva is straightened out, according to the Associated Press (per Yahoo Sports). Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, made the offering in a private meeting with the skaters in Beijing. The torches will be holdovers, and Bach said there will be no medal ceremonies for events in which Valieva made the podium.
The Russian team finished in first place in the team event. Valieva helped the team, labeled as the Russia Olympic Committee (ROC), score 74 points after landing the first-ever double quads in women free skate. Following the event, the medal ceremony was postponed and reports of Valieva's drug test surfaced. The Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) ruled that Valieva could compete, citing her status as a "protective person" due to the fact she's 15. Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine which is a banned drug.
"In the interest of fairness to all athletes and the (nations) concerned, it would not be appropriate to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," the IOC said in a statement, "as it would include an athlete who on the one hand has a positive A-sample, but whose violation of the anti-doping rules has not yet been established on the other hand."
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic CEO Sarah Hirshland is not happy with the decision. "This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia," Hirshland said in a statement. "We know this case is not yet closed, and we call on everyone in the Olympic Movement to continue to fight for clean sport on behalf of athletes around the world."
The CAS's decision to allow Valieva to compete angered U.S. track star Sha'Carri Richardson who wasn't allowed to compete in the Summer Olympics last year. "Can we get a solid answer on the difference of her situation and mines [sic]? My mother died and I can't run and was also favored to place top 3. The only difference I see is I'm a black young lady," Richardson tweeted when she learned of the decision. In a separate tweet, Richardson wrote, "It's all in the skin." She then said, "Btw THC definitely is not a performance enhance!!!!!"