Court rejects US skaters’ appeal for Olympic silver team medals

US digital skaters on Saturday failed an 11-hour court bid for silver in the Beijing Olympic team event after being held back by the Kamila Valeeva doping scandal.

The skaters have appealed the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to award medals until the 15-year-old Russian’s case is investigated.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a statement that it had “decided to reject the application” after a hastily arranged hearing 24 hours before the closing ceremony on Sunday.

“As a result, the decision of the IOC Executive Board … not to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics,” the statement added.

This will be the first time in the history of the Olympic Games that no medals are awarded for an event.

Among the US team members is Nathan Chen, who was also the singles gold medalist.

Valieva starred in helping the Russian Olympic Committee win the team title early in the Beijing Games. The Americans came second, Japan came third, and Canada ranked fourth.

The Russian was told the day after the team event concluded that she had tested positive in December for a banned substance but the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled she could still compete in the Olympic singles event.

She was not justified by doping and faces further investigations.

The IOC said it could not award team event medals until that process had been completed.

Valieva returned to her home country of Russia to greet the champions after finishing fourth in the singles event. She was expected to win the singles title, but the controversy surrounding her seemed to take its toll as she fell several times during her routine.

It tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina but is banned for athletes because it can boost endurance.

Valeeva’s predicament has once again focused attention on Russian athletes at the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Russians to participate as supposedly clean of doping.

They are participating in Beijing under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee because Russia as a country imposes a two-year ban as a punishment for its state-sponsored doping program.

Separately, Chinese duo Sui Wenjing and Han Cong sent the home crowd the gold in the figure skating pairs competition, setting a new world point record.

They beat the Russian duo Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov by only 0.63 points, while the other Russian duo, Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galiamov, won the bronze.

The host nation’s ninth gold medal in the Olympics comes ahead of the United States, the Netherlands and Sweden, and is third in the medal table. Norway ranks first with 15 golds, while Germany ranks second with 11.

High winds forced the postponement of the last alpine skiing event at the Games and caused difficult conditions on the penultimate day of work.

US figure skating star Mikaela Shiffrin’s hopes of ending her disappointing Olympic Games at the highest level are dashed as the mixed team returns to Sunday.

But more winds are expected in Yanqing, north of Beijing, on the final day, and if the race ends, it will only be the second time in the history of the Winter Olympics that an event cannot take place during the Games.

The most recent event was the 10,000-meter speed skating event at the St. Moritz Games in 1928.

The team’s parallel is the last chance for Shiffrin, who won gold in 2014 and 2018, to leave China with a medal.

The strong winds also forced the 50-kilometer cross-country skiers to start shortening to 30 kilometres. Added to this mix are temperatures of less than 17 °C (1.5 °F) in the mountains.

New Zealander defying the elements Nico Porteus braved the elements to claim New Zealand’s second gold medal in Winter Games history, in the process ending American David Wise’s eight-year reign as champion in the free skating half-pipe.

Snowboarder Zoe Sadowski Sinnott had given New Zealand its first ever Winter Olympic gold earlier in the games, and Porteous finished second with an inspiring first run at Genting Glacier Park.

The 20-year-old rose to the top in a fierce, windswept final, but also stumbled on his final run that left him bleeding from his ear and treating his shoulder.

He did enough already to win, thanks to his 93.00 first-half points total and Hakka received congratulations from his teammates.

“In our sport, especially on a day like today, it’s anyone’s game,” Porteous said.

Slovakia took the bronze in men’s ice hockey, defeating Sweden 4-0, and Belgium won their first Winter Olympic title in 74 years when Bart Swings won the gold in speed skating in the men’s mass start.

(AFP)

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