Figure skating-U.S. 'deeply frustrated' by medals' delay


FILE PHOTO: 2022 Beijing Olympics - Figure Skating - Women Single Skating - Free Skating - Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China - February 17, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee warms up before her performance. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

(Reuters) - U.S. Figure Skating on Thursday said it was "deeply frustrated" by the nearly one-year delay in its athletes receiving medals won in the team event at the Beijing Olympics as a doping case involving a Russian skater continues to play out.

The Americans finished second behind the Russian Olympic Committee in the event on Feb. 7 but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled no medals would be presented after Russian teenager Kamila Valieva's doping case forced a postponement of the ceremony.

"As we approach the one-year anniversary of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, U.S. Figure Skating and its athletes are deeply frustrated by the lack of a final decision in the Team Event," U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement.

"We're very proud of how our Olympic medalists have carried themselves with poise and dignity since earning medals in Beijing. They have long deserved the recognition that has been withheld due to the ongoing process.

"U.S. Figure Skating calls for a fair and appropriate ruling to rightfully award medals to all clean sport athletes affected by this situation."

The then 15-year-old Valieva tested positive for a banned heart drug after the Russian national championships prior to the Games but the result was not revealed until Feb. 8, after the team event.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) ruled last month that Valieva, who said the positive test was the result of a mix-up with her grandfather's heart medication, was not guilty of any doping infraction and imposed no sanction related to her performance at the Games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it was "concerned" by the finding and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) urged WADA and the International Skating Union (ISU) to appeal it.

The U.S. team of Evan Bates, Karen Chen, Nathan Chen, Madison Chock, Zachary Donohue, Brandon Frazier, Madison Hubbell, Alexa Knierim and Vincent Zhou took silver behind the Russians, with Japan getting the bronze and Canada placing fourth.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Ed Osmond)

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