Olympic boss offers US skaters ‘gift’ amid medal delay – media
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has offered US figure skaters torches as a gift while they await their medals from the team event in Beijing, according to reports.
Bach made the gesture when he spoke with the US team in a meeting lasting around two hours on Wednesday, the AP reported, citing anonymous sources.
The ‘holdover gift’ would be torches used during the Olympic flame relay, which the AP claimed have already been given to US team staff to present to the skaters.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) confirmed that discussions had taken place but did not divulge the details, stating that the “content of that discussion should remain between them.”
The medal ceremony for the figure skating team event – which was won by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and saw the US claim silver ahead of Japan in third – was postponed after a positive doping test was reported for Russian skater Kamila Valieva in a sample taken in December.
Earlier this week, a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel cleared the 15-year-old to compete in the women’s individual event in Beijing, where she leads after the short program and will aim to seal gold on Thursday.
The IOC has already said no flower or medal ceremony will be held after that event as the case is ongoing.
Russian officials have maintained Valieva’s innocence after she tested positive for traces of the banned heart drug trimetazidine.
At her case hearing it was reportedly suggested that the drug may have entered her system through contamination via heart medication her grandfather was taking.
The ROC noted that Valieva repeatedly passed doping tests before and after the positive result – including in Beijing.
There has also been conflicting information as to why the result from the sample, which was taken on December 25 at the Russian championships and sent for analysis at a laboratory in Stockholm accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), took more than six weeks to be reported – arriving only after Valieva had helped the ROC team to gold.
Speaking on Wednesday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams cautioned against some of the speculation which has taken hold in the media surrounding the case.