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Lawyers for US skaters whose Olympic silver medals have been withheld have told the International Olympic Committee that they had filed an appeal to award them before the end of the race. Beijing gamesThe Associated Press learned.
in a letter Lawyers sent IOC President Thomas Bach on Saturday in China, obtained by the Associated Press, and the lawyers said they would ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a ruling before Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Kamila Valeeva led the Russian team to victory in the team event last week, with the United States taking second place. Soon, the 15-year-old skater’s positive doping test was revealed. The Chinese Sports Academy allowed her to continue skating in the women’s event, but the International Olympic Committee said it would not award medals in any events in which she placed in the top three.
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She finished fourth in the women’s championship – crying as she left the ice, then criticized by her coach after a long program full of mistakes.
This case includes the team event that took place last week. The Russians won the event by a large margin. Japan came in third and Canada in fourth place.
The letter, sent on behalf of the US runner-up, says, “The rules of the International Olympic Committee state that the victory ceremony “to present medals to athletes must follow the conclusion of each sporting event.”
In a meeting earlier this week with the skaters, Bach offered them Olympic torches as something of a memento lingering during the implementation of the doping case, which could take months or even years.
Lawyers said they hoped the IOC would reconsider, but because of urgency, they were appealing.
U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director Ramsay Baker sent the Associated Press a statement supporting the skaters.
“Having a medal ceremony at the Olympics is not something that can be replicated elsewhere, and should be celebrated in front of the world before leaving Beijing,” Becker said.
The letter to Bach, sent by lawyer Paul Green, who represents athletes in doping and other cases against Olympic authorities, said the IOC president had asked the athletes for their opinion.
“The Honorable Medal Ceremony from our client’s point of view is one at Medals Plaza as originally planned and awarded to all other medalists,” he wrote.
After Valeeva’s test became public, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency initially temporarily suspended her, then lifted the suspension. This prompted the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which acted quickly and said Valeeva could still compete.
This did not solve the larger question about the outcome of the team’s competition.
Nine Americans will get some kind of medal from that – either the runner-up prize they’re aiming for this weekend, or the gold medal that could become theirs if the Russians are disqualified over Valeeva’s doping case.
Because she is 15, Valeeva is considered a “protected person” under anti-doping rules, and she is not expected to receive a severe punishment. The coaches and doctors are under investigation by the Russian and world anti-doping authorities.
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