Team USA has earned its first Olympic gold medals of 2024.
But they’re not tied to the upcoming Summer Games in Paris. Instead, they’re late arrivals from the 2022 Winter Games.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland confirmed Monday to USA Today that figure skaters from Team USA in 2022 will be awarded the gold medals because one of the skaters from the Russian team that originally claimed the team event crown has been disqualified.
“The late development ... signals the end of a nearly two-year-long saga for the athletes,” USA Today reported.
Kamila Valieva doping ban
The Russian skater, Kamila Valieva, was 15 during the 2022 Games. Her positive drug test came to light while the Olympics were still going on and led to confusion over what her possible disqualification would mean for the figure skating events that had already concluded.
Russia’s antidoping body later decided that Valieva shouldn’t be held responsible for the positive drug test because of her age. But the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected this defense and, this month, announced that Valieva will be banned from competition for four years, according to The New York Times.
“The ban will be retroactive to the date she gave the sample, Dec. 25, 2021, meaning it will end in time for Valieva to compete at the next Winter Olympics, in Italy in 2026,” the article said.
Although the Court of Arbitration’s decision will allow Team USA to receive the long-awaited gold medals, it won’t resolve the frustration surrounding the situation.
Some U.S. Olympic leaders and athletes are angry that the American skaters missed the opportunity to receive the team event gold medals in the spotlight of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing and celebrate with fellow athletes.
“Many ... were angered not only that the competitions had been disrupted but also that athletes who had done nothing wrong had been denied the opportunity to celebrate their achievements at the Games,” The New York Times reported.
The timing of a possible medal ceremony for the U.S. figure skaters, as well as for the Japanese and Canadian skaters who will receive silver and bronze medals, respectively, has not yet been announced.