NewsScott still happy with silver

FasterSkier FasterSkierDecember 9, 2002

Sometime in the near future cross-country skier Beckie Scott will
receive an Olympic silver medal.

It won’t be a ceremony shown on national television followed by fireworks.
Scott won’t be able to celebrate one of the most exciting moments of her
life by climbing on a podium with a silver medal around her neck and waving
to cheering fans banishing Maple Leaf flags.

It won’t be like it should have
been, but for Scott it will have to do. “It’s not the same feeling
for sure,” Scott said Saturday, a day
after a ruling upholding suspensions of two Russian cross-country skiers
meant the bronze medal she won at the Salt Lake City Games will be upgraded
to silver.

“In a way to me it’s a bonus. I had my moment on the podium in Salt
Lake City. That’s probably the happiest I could have been on that day.
This is just a bonus now.”

Not only did Russians skiers Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova apparently
cheat to finish ahead of Scott in the five-kilometre pursuit race at Salt
Lake City, they stole a moment that should have belonged to the
native of Vermilion, Alta., her family and friends.

“I can’t be thinking about what could have happened, what should
of happened,” Scott said in a telephone interview from Luleo, Sweden.
“It did happen. That’s the way it goes, I guess.”

The Court
of Arbitration for Sport on Friday denied appeals by Lazutina and Danilova
to overturn drug-related suspensions stemming from the Olympics. The ruling
allows the International Olympic Committee to strip the silver from Lazutina,
one of the most decorated athletes in Winter Olympics history, and give
it to Scott.

“I’m really happy,” Scott said about the decision. “This
is what we were waiting for. I’m really glad they (the court) upheld the
decision and rejected the appeal. It’s good news.”

Scott could still receive a gold medal. The Court of Arbitration for Sport
will now hear an appeal by the Canadian and Norwegian Olympic Committees
that argues the IOC should strip the two Russians of all the medals they
won at Salt Lake.

“I hope it works,” said Scott, who was travelling from Kuusamo,
Finland, where she had finished 14th in a 10-kilometre World Cup race,
to Davos, Switzerland, where she will compete next week. “I think
it is a legitimate appeal and it’s based on the right motivation. I’m
not sure it will (win). I hope it does.”

Dick Pound, a senior IOC member from Canada and head of the World Anti-Doping
Agency, supports the appeal. “I agree with and have encouraged the
challenge,” he said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press. “I thought
the IOC missed an opportunity in Salt Lake City.”

The appeal could be heard before Christmas or early in the new year. That
means the waiting game Scott has played since the Games ended last February
continues.

“It’s been out of my control from the beginning,” she said.
“There was nothing I could do about it. I stopped worrying about
it and let
things happen as they would.”

Anton Scheier, high performance director for Cross Country Canada, called
the wait frustrating. “Beckie should have received a silver medal
at least back in February,” he said from Ottawa. “I’m sure she
has missed out on some opportunities in the intervening time where a silver
medal, or even a gold, would have changed a few things.”

At the conclusion of the Games, Lazutina was stripped of her gold medal
in the 30-kilometre race and Danilova was also disqualified from that
event, in which she finished eighth, after both tested positive for darbepoetin,
which boosts production of oxygen-rich red blood cells. The two were allowed
to keep medals from other races, including the five-kilometre event, because
they passed drug tests in those events. [FasterSkier note: the drug
test for earlier events did not test for darbepoetin. So the Russians
did not test clean after the Pursuit- they just weren’t tested
]

But Lazutina was suspended for two years by the International Ski Federation
for positive drug tests at World Cup competitions in December prior to
the Games. In their appeals, the Russians never denied using the banned
substance, but argued the tests used at the Games only accidentally detected
the darbepoetin.

“I was pretty amazed they appealed,” Scott said between bites
of her supper. “It was a clear cut and dried case of a doping infraction.
To appeal that seemed to be not quite right. I don’t think about those
two on a personal level.”

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