Olympics-Appeals could further delay awarding of figure skating gold to US

By Thomson Reuters Mar 14, 2024 | 7:56 PM

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) – Awarding of the 2022 Beijing Olympic figure skating team gold to the United States after Russia was stripped of the medals for doping could be delayed by appeals, said U.S. Olympic officials on Thursday, putting plans for a Paris celebration in jeopardy.

After two years of legal wrangling the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in January that teenager Kamila Valieva, a member of the Russian squad, receive a four-year doping ban that elevated the U.S. to gold and Japan to silver.

Fourth place finishers Canada believed they would move up from fourth to bronze but when International Skating Union (ISU)

removed Valieva’s resullt Russia took third.

Russia quickly filed an appeal against the CAS decision to Switzerland’s supreme court while Skate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) have appealed to CAS.

Already frustrated by the lengthy delays American figure skaters had expressed hope of getting their medals during a ceremony at the Paris Olympics but now face potentially more disappointment.

“The variety of appeals may in fact delay the award of those medals although it is our hope and sincere interest in being able to award those medals in Paris,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland following a board of directors meeting.

“That is what the team has requested and we believe that can happen regardless of the hearings,” said Hirshland.

“Obviously we are not in control of that timeline but it is certainly our hope that that is what we are able to do.”

The Paris Summer Games may be just months away but it was Winter Olympics that dominated discussion following the meeting.

Both Hirshland and USOPC chair Gene Sykes said they will be in Salt Lake City for the International Olympic Committee’s Future Host Commission visit April 9-13.

The IOC team will tour venues and evaluate preparations before submitting a report to the Executive Board which will determine if a bid to host the 2034 Winter Games should be put to a vote by the full membership.

The visit is viewed as little more than a rubber stamp with Salt Lake City 2034 and France 2030 already picked as preferred hosts.

“Both Sarah and I will be present for the Future Host Commission,” said Sykes. “We know many of the members in the Host Commission, Sarah was just in Lausanne two weeks ago and I maintain a very good dialogue with many IOC members who are part of that.

“We’ve been preparing for more than a year for exactly this sort of interaction.

“The expectation on the part of the IOC is that this will confirm what they have already learned about the Salt Lake City team.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Michael Perry)