US skaters still waiting for Beijing Olympics medals more than year on
The American figure skating team is still waiting for their Beijing Olympics medals over a year later and ice dancer Evan Bates said Friday that it hurt to miss an “irreplaceable” moment.
The United States finished second behind Russia in the team competition but no medal ceremony was held because of the doping scandal involving Kamila Valieva.
The International Olympic Committee decided not to award the medals until the case involving the then 15-year-old — who played a starring role for the Russian team — had been investigated.
It was the first time in Olympic history that medals for an event were not awarded.
More than a year later, the matter has still not been resolved and Bates said it remained “uncharted territory for everybody”.
“The biggest disappointment is that the moment is gone and the moment is irreplaceable,” said Bates, who is currently competing with partner Madison Chock at the world championships in Japan.
“The fact is we left without the medals — through no fault of our own — but I’m really proud of Team USA and the way that we’ve conducted ourselves for the last 12 months.”
Valieva dazzled as the Russian team won the competition at the Beijing Games in February last year, ahead of the US in second, Japan in third and Canada in fourth.
Valieva was informed the following day that she had tested positive in December for a banned substance.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that she could still take part in the women’s singles event at the Games.
It did not clear her of doping and US skaters were left in limbo when the IOC decided not to award medals for the team event.
Chock said she and Bates were competing at this week’s world championships hoping to “get a nice medal here to soften that medal-shaped hole”.
“It’s certainly an unfortunate event that occurred,” she said.
“We just hope that the process continues and we’re going to be patient and know that things will work themselves out.”
Bates said the saga had brought the US team closer together.
“The bond between us is actually even stronger because we’ve gone through this together,” he said.
“It’s kind of forged our friendship.”