Shelved medal ceremony tough for ‘tight’ Team USA
BEIJING—The camaraderie of Team USA’s figure skaters has been on full display at the Beijing Olympics, adding to the disappointment for its members of a postponed team-event awards ceremony in the wake of Russian Kamila Valieva’s doping case.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Monday it would award medals for the team competition only after a full resolution of the teen skater’s positive pre-Games doping test, likely well after competitors head home.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) took gold, followed by the United States and Japan for the silver and bronze.
“It’s something that we accomplished together and it’s not the same at all to have that experience taken away,” U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell said after winning an individual bronze. She and dance partner Zachary Donohue were part of the nine-member U.S. teams event.
“My heart goes out to the rest of my teammates and hopefully we’ll find some way to celebrate together.”
At the Games over the past two weeks, U.S. figure skaters including Nathan Chen, Jason Brown and Mariah Bell have spoken of the team’s tight bond and how that helped in the absence of their families due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s really great to be able to have people that you love at such an amazing event, and memories that you can share,” men’s individual gold medallist Chen said.
One of his biggest cheerleaders was Mariah Bell, who said she was “standing the entire time” watching his final routine from the Team USA seats and still struggling days later to recover from the excitement of his men’s singles victory.
Chen will no doubt be on the other side on Tuesday, when Bell skates her short program with nails done by Hubbell, the team’s gregarious go-to manicurist.
Japan’s national Olympic committee has said its team had also hoped to get their medals at the Olympics but has largely kept its counsel over the delayed ceremony.
The ROC has not commented on the IOC’s decision.