American skaters file appeal to get Olympic medals in Beijing

American skaters appeal medals
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American skaters file appeal to get Olympic medals in Beijing

BEIJING (AP) — Arbitrators have rejected a last-ditch appeal by American figure skaters to have their silver medals awarded before the end of the Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said early Sunday in Beijing that it dismissed the appeal by the nine American skaters, who finished second in the team event that was marred by a doping positive by 15-year-old Russian Kamila Valieva.

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It did not elaborate on its decision, and said it would release details in upcoming days.

In an earlier decision, CAS had allowed Valieva to compete in the women’s event after her doping positive went public following the Russians’ victory in the team event. The International Olympic Committee responded by saying that no medals would be awarded in any event in which Valieva finished in the top three.

Losing the case means the U.S. skaters will receive their medals months, maybe even years, from now, after Valieva’s case winds its way through hearings and appeals. She led the Russians to a convincing victory in the team event. If that result is overturned, the U.S. would get gold medals.

The skaters had argued, without success, that they should at least receive the silvers before Sunday night’s closing ceremony. In a letter sent to IOC President Thomas Bach that was obtained by The Associated Press, the skaters’ attorney argued that the IOC’s “own rules mandate that a victory ceremony ‘to present medals to the athletes shall follow the conclusion of each sports event.’”

A few hours before the decision, the U.S. team of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished sixth in the pairs event. Afterward, Frazier said “they should have a ceremony for the clean athletes that delivered. They deserve that.”

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