US skaters fail in last-gasp court bid to get Olympic silver medals
American figure skaters failed Saturday in an 11th-hour court bid to receive their Beijing Olympics team event silver medals after they were held back because of the Kamila Valieva doping scandal.
The skaters challenged the International Olympic Committee's decision that the medals cannot be awarded until the 15-year-old Russian's case has been investigated.
But the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said in a statement that it had "decided to dismiss the application" after a hastily-arranged hearing 24 hours before Sunday's closing ceremony.
"Consequently, the decision of the IOC Executive Board... not to hold the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 stands," the statement added.
It will be the first time in Olympic history that medals for an event will not be awarded.
The US team members include Nathan Chen, who was also the individual gold medallist.
Valieva played a starring role in helping the Russian Olympic Committee win the team title early in the Beijing Games. The Americans came second, with Japan third and Canada fourth.
The Russian was informed the day after the conclusion of the team event that she had tested positive in December for a banned substance but CAS ruled she could still take part in the Olympic singles event.
It did not clear her of doping and she faces further investigation.
The IOC said it could not award the team event medals until that process has run its course.
Valieva has returned home to Russia to a hero's welcome after finishing fourth in the individual event. She had been expected to win the singles title but the controversy surrounding her appeared to take its toll as she fell several times during her routine.
She tested positive for trimetazidine, a drug used to treat angina but which is banned for athletes because it can boost endurance.
Valieva's predicament has focused attention once more on Russian athletes at Olympic Games and the IOC's decision to allow Russians supposedly clean of doping to participate.
They are taking part in Beijing under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee because Russia as a country is serving a two-year ban as punishment for a state-sponsored doping programme.
- China's ninth gold -
Separately, Chinese pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong sent the home crowd wild by taking gold in the figure skating pairs event, setting a new world record points score.
They beat Russian pair Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov by just 0.63 points, with another Russian duo, Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, in the bronze medal position.
The host nation's ninth gold medal of the Games takes them ahead of the United States, the Netherlands and Sweden and into third in the medals table. Norway are top with 15 golds with Germany second on 11.
High winds forced the postponement of the last alpine skiing event at the Games and made for treacherous conditions on a bone-chilling penultimate day of action.
US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin's hopes of ending her disappointing Olympics on a high were blown off course with the mixed team parallel forced back to Sunday.
But more wind is forecast for Yanqing, north of Beijing, on the final day and if the race ends up being cancelled it would be only the second time in Winter Olympics history that an event could not take place during the Games.
The last was the 10,000 metres speed skating event at the 1928 St Moritz Games.
The team parallel is the last opportunity for Shiffrin, who won slalom gold in 2014 and 2018, to leave China with a medal.
The strong winds also forced the cross-country skiing men's 50-kilometre mass start to be shortened to 30km. Added to the mix were temperatures of minus 17 degrees Celsius (1.5 Fahrenheit) in the mountains.
- Kiwi defies elements -
Nico Porteous defied the elements to claim only New Zealand's second gold in Winter Games history and in the process ended American David Wise's eight-year reign as freeski halfpipe champion.
Snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott had given New Zealand their first ever Winter Olympic gold earlier in the Games and Porteous made it two with an inspired first run at Genting Snow Park.
The 20-year-old came out on top in a wild final battered by high winds, but also took a tumble on his final run that left him bleeding from his ear and nursing a sore shoulder.
He had already done enough to win, thanks to his first-run score of 93.00 and he was given a congratulatory haka by his team-mates.
"In our sport, especially on a day like today, it's anyone's game," said Porteous.
Slovakia took the bronze medal in the men's ice hockey, beating Sweden 4-0 and Belgium won a first Winter Olympics title for 74 years when Bart Swings claimed the men's mass start speed skating gold medal.