U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Monday night that the United States will receive the gold medal in the 2022 Olympic team figure skating competition in the wake of the suspension and disqualification of Russia’s Kamila Valieva earlier Monday.
“We’re beyond thrilled,” Hirshland said of the late development, which signals the end a nearly two-year-long saga for the athletes who were waiting to receive their Olympic medals. When and where they will receive them is still to be determined.
The USOPC’s confirmation of the team gold medal came after the International Olympic Committee broke its silence on the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s Valieva decision, saying it “welcomes the fact that the CAS ruling provides clarity in this case, and the athletes from the team figure skating competition…can finally get their medals for which they have been waiting so long.”
The IOC went on to say it is “in a position to award the medals in accordance with the ranking, which has to be established by the International Skating Union (ISU). … The IOC will contact the respective NOCs in order to organize a dignified Olympic medal ceremony.”
The ISU said earlier Monday that it “will publish a full statement with regard to the implications of the CAS decision on (Tuesday).” It is the ISU’s responsibility to determine the definitive results of the competition before the IOC decides how and when to actually give out the corresponding medals to the athletes. It’s not clear why the IOC chose to speak out before the ISU.
This flurry of activity comes 720 days after Valieva, then 15, led Russia to the gold medal in the Olympic team event in Beijing on Feb. 7, 2022. The United States finished second and Japan was third, with Canada fourth. There was no word late Monday on the official silver and bronze medal-winning teams.
But the next day, the medal ceremony for the event was canceled and the results were thrown into disarray after Valieva was found to have tested positive for the banned heart medication trimetazidine six weeks earlier at the Russian championships. CAS ruled that Valieva’s four-year suspension begins on the date she took that test, Dec. 25, 2021.