Beijing 2022 Olympians Alexa Knierim & Brandon Frazier ‘gone’ as wait continues

Olympic medalists in the Beijing 2022 Olympic team figure skating event were given mascots in a flower ceremony but are still waiting for their medals

They know they won an Olympic medal, they just don’t have it to show anyone.

And American figure skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier still have no idea when they’ll get it, just that when they do, nothing can ever replace the moment they lost.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided not to award medals in the Beijing 2022 team figure skating competition, pending the resolution of a doping investigation into Russia’s Kamila Valieva.

Nine months later, which is still pending, and the Olympians are still waiting.

“We were bringing home a medal for our country, which just felt so much bigger and bigger [than any other]and to go home right after the Olympics and show and tell about this beautiful medal to people back home who have seen something they never thought was possible – those are the moments I wish we could experience,” Knierim said , 31, on BBC Sport. .

“The sad part is that nothing will be able to reproduce or recreate the moment in Beijing.

“Even if it was to return to the exact location [to receive the medals]timing is everything and that moment is gone.”

They don’t even know what color the medal will be when they get it.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is seeking a four-year ban for 16-year-old Valieva and a ban from competition after she failed a test for angina pectoris, trimetazidine, which would have included the Winter Olympics.

Earlier this week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport registered Wada’s action against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) and Valieva, with Wada concerned about the delay in resolving the case after Rusada said it was not going to make her results public research.

Valieva helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) win the team figure skating competition in Beijing, with the United States second and Japan third. If the teenager is disqualified, the US could be promoted to gold and fourth-placed Canada could move up to bronze.

Knierim and Frazier, 29, were on top of the podium last weekend at the Grand Prix event in Sheffield, a gold medal hanging proudly around their necks during a victory ceremony that featured an anthem, flag raising and cheers. And there were similar scenes in France when they became world champions in March.

But these are not Olympic medals.

“For many elite athletes sometimes the actual trophy or medal, when you get it, goes in a drawer,” Knierim said.

“This isn’t going in a drawer! When we get our medals I’ll be sure to display mine in my house and be very proud of it whatever color it is.”

Frazier agreed that he would take more care of his, saying, “I’ll probably wear it for a good year!”

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier (centre) won gold in Sheffield on Saturday – giving them a podium moment they are still waiting for from February’s Olympics

The IOC has promised a “decent” medal ceremony when the time comes – lawyers have suggested it could be more than a year away – but the athletes themselves would rather have their moment in Beijing and face the fallout from any possible medal stripping later.

Frazier is clear that this unprecedented situation must never be allowed to happen again.

“If the committees making these decisions are interested in making sure this doesn’t happen again, they need to listen to the athletes involved so they can understand first-hand what we live through and what it’s like to have moments like this. understand his seriousness,” he said.

The American team launched an unsuccessful legal appeal while in Beijing to seek the award of their medals before withdrawing from the Games.

News of Valieva’s failed test came after she had competed in the team event, but before the medal ceremony. The outcome of a legal challenge also meant she was allowed to continue competing in Beijing, finishing fourth in the women’s event she had led before a fault-ridden performance in her second routine.

The sample was taken in December, but the findings came to light just six weeks later on winter sports’ biggest stage.

It came as Russia was officially banned from the Games as part of sanctions related to state-sponsored doping. Athletes from the country who could prove they were clean were allowed to compete under the ROC without a flag or anthem.

Knierim and Frazier may or may not be Olympians — but it’s not even the color of the medal that matters.

“Color only matters when it comes to whether the contest was fair or not. That’s out of our hands, that’s what investigations do,” Frazier said.

“It’s more that we just wanted that medal and that Games experience, so that part was the disappointing part, so now it’s just what Team USA and the other countries deserve and that’s where we are.”

Knierim added: “However, wherever this is, the athletes will just be grateful for the moment they hold their medals.”

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