Olympic medals: U.S. figure skaters still waiting months later

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Every from time to time, Nathan Chen and the remainder of the American figure skaters who completed second within the staff occasion on the Beijing Olympics will get on a gaggle chat and atone for all the things taking place of their lives.


Things that are not taking place, too, like a medal ceremony for the Winter Games.


Eight months after ending behind the Russians, the U.S. staff has but to obtain its medals and even know whether or not they are going to be silver or gold. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency solely lately accomplished its painfully sluggish investigation into Kamila Valieva, the now-16-year-old wunderkind whose optimistic doping check that surfaced in the course of the opening week of the Olympics led to its largest scandal in years.


RUSADA didn’t reveal the outcomes of its investigation, although it did say the following step can be to carry disciplinary hearings in September or early October. That timeframe has come and gone with none updates.


“That’s most likely the toughest half, having no data of the scenario,” Chen, who additionally gained particular person gold in Beijing, advised The Associated Press. “We get updates and it is all the time, `We do not know what is going on on.’ That’s tremendous annoying.”


The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which was outraged there was no medal ceremony in any respect in the course of the Beijing Games, continues to push the International Olympic Committee for some type of decision within the case.


That most likely will not occur any time quickly, although. If Valieva was discovered to have violated doping guidelines, she would probably attraction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. And if she’s cleared, it will be the World Anti-Doping Agency or International Skating Union that presumably would attraction to the best courtroom in worldwide sport.


It was CAS that dominated in the course of the Olympics that Valieva, whose optimistic check for an angina remedy got here from a specimen taken the earlier December, may proceed to compete within the ladies’s occasion in Beijing. The heavy favourite cracked underneath the extreme scrutiny, falling a number of occasions throughout her free skate and ending off the rostrum.


Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the USOPC, referred to as the delay within the awarding of medals “an outrageous scenario.”


“I’d wish to let you know that I’m much less mad or much less annoyed,” Hirshland mentioned lately. “Our No. 1 precedence is to guarantee that our Team USA athletes, who’re sitting with out their medals, know that we have not forgotten them.”


It’s a posh case, made much more so due to Valieva’s protected standing attributable to her age. But if she was discovered to have doped and the choice is upheld via appeals, all the Russian staff may very well be stripped of gold; Valieva had the best scores in each the brief program and free skate, giving her staff the utmost factors within the occasion.


The U.S. staff may then be elevated to gold, Japan to silver and the fourth-place Canadians to the bronze medal.


“It’s all the time on our thoughts,” mentioned Madison Chock, who together with companion Evan Bates carried out their free dance within the staff occasion. “It is what it’s. It’s not one thing inside our management in the mean time. We simply take these little bits of reports that we hear and take in them and allow them to be.”


For now, Chock and Bates must shelve their ideas of Beijing. Just just like the pairs staff of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, Chock and Bates are targeted on competing this weekend at Skate America close to Boston. It’s the primary occasion of the Grand Prix season, and each partnerships are closely favored to win their occasions.


Chen is taking the 12 months off, although. So are Olympic teammates Karen Chen and Vincent Zhou, whereas longtime ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue headed into retirement after the Winter Games.


They may need somewhat extra time to ponder the destiny of their Olympic staff medals.


“I’m glad I’ve a extremely superior staff going via this collectively,” Nathan Chen mentioned. “We have one another’s backs.”

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